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Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the Economic Rape of Russia

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

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

Comment to 'inside job' (Yahoo! Finance)

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

-- Napoleon Bonaparte

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

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

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

Hip Heterodoxy by Christopher Hayes


Introduction

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

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

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

... ... ...

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

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

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

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

Academic Mafiosi as a Social Class

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hugh:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Academic Mafiosi as Byproduct and Simultaneously Enablers of Neoliberalism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arsen Azizyan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear David,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

... ... ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Abstract

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Controversy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

[Jan 30, 2018] How We Got Donald Trump by Andrew J. Bacevich

Notable quotes:
"... members of Washington's smart set, Republicans and Democrats alike, declared that the opportunities now presenting themselves went beyond the merely stupendous. Indeed, history itself had ended. With the United States as the planet's sole superpower, [neo]liberal democratic capitalism was destined to prevail everywhere. ..."
"... In the 1990s, rampant victory disease fueled extraordinary hubris and a pattern of reckless behavior informed by an assumption that the world would ultimately conform to the wishes of the "indispensable nation." In the years to come, an endless sequence of costly mishaps would ensue from Mogadishu to Mosul. ..."
"... Trump is not a revolutionary, and he is not the devil. He simply represents an attempt late in a systemic downward cycle to correct few excesses and buy some time. ..."
"... The beneficiaries of the excess policies – cheap labor businesses, ethnic castes, trans-gender professionals, open border fanatics, military extremists – are fighting tooth and nail to keep any change from happening. They are at this point beyond hysteria, they sense the goodies might be slipping from their hands (it is mostly about their jobs and careers). ..."
"... Two fundamental omissions from the analysis are: in domestic policies the devastating impact of affirmative action on the next generation of young, white males. And in foreign policy the equally devastating impact of Bill Clinton's attack on Serbia (to create a 'Muslim' Kosovo statelet in Europe) had on the international law and norms. Iraq inevitably followed Serbia. ..."
Jan 30, 2018 | www.unz.com

1989: The Fall of the Berlin Wall. As the Cold War wound down, members of Washington's smart set, Republicans and Democrats alike, declared that the opportunities now presenting themselves went beyond the merely stupendous. Indeed, history itself had ended. With the United States as the planet's sole superpower, [neo]liberal democratic capitalism was destined to prevail everywhere.

There would be no way except the American Way. In fact, however, the passing of the Cold War should have occasioned a moment of reflection regarding the sundry mistakes and moral compromises that marred U.S. policy from the 1940s through the 1980s. Unfortunately, policy elites had no interest in second thoughts -- and certainly not in remorse or contrition.

In the 1990s, rampant victory disease fueled extraordinary hubris and a pattern of reckless behavior informed by an assumption that the world would ultimately conform to the wishes of the "indispensable nation." In the years to come, an endless sequence of costly mishaps would ensue from Mogadishu to Mosul.

When, in due time, Donald Trump announced his intention to dismantle the establishment that had presided over those failures, many Americans liked what he had to say, even if he spoke from a position of total ignorance.

Beckow , January 30, 2018 at 7:53 pm GMT

Those who hate Trump, will hate Trump. And very little of what they write will not be colored by the hatred.

The analysis – although based on a sound historical premise – is off by miles. It focuses on personalities and avoids mentioning the systemic failures by Western institutions, from media to academia, from Hollywood to UN. Trump is not a revolutionary, and he is not the devil. He simply represents an attempt late in a systemic downward cycle to correct few excesses and buy some time.

The beneficiaries of the excess policies – cheap labor businesses, ethnic castes, trans-gender professionals, open border fanatics, military extremists – are fighting tooth and nail to keep any change from happening. They are at this point beyond hysteria, they sense the goodies might be slipping from their hands (it is mostly about their jobs and careers).

Two fundamental omissions from the analysis are: in domestic policies the devastating impact of affirmative action on the next generation of young, white males. And in foreign policy the equally devastating impact of Bill Clinton's attack on Serbia (to create a 'Muslim' Kosovo statelet in Europe) had on the international law and norms. Iraq inevitably followed Serbia.

Why are these points left out? Because they would make the neo-liberal Democrats look bad? Right, Gore as president, that would had fixed it all

David In TN , January 30, 2018 at 11:13 pm GMT
Bacevich didn't write a word about the Open Borders fetish of both parties from which Trump dissented, or seemed to. Not a word. And this played no small part in Trump winning the GOP nomination and the election.

[Jan 27, 2018] The Rich Also Cry by Israel Shamir

Highly recommended!
Fantastic article. A very plausible hypothesis. "The Deal. Connected people, in-the-know, claim that a top-secret agreement was reached between the late Mr Yeltsin and his cronies, on one side, and The West, on the other side, in 1991. Yeltsin et al had sold Russia's interests down the river, and in return, The West allowed the bastards to hoard their ill-gotten gains in the Western financial system. Yeltsin et al had promised to let the Soviet republics go; to disarm; to follow the Washington Consensus, i.e. to stick to the liberal economic model; to allow the free import of consumer goods; to allow Western access to the Russian military complex; to let the West write Russian laws; to permit the free outflow of capital from Russia. The West promised to bring investment, to let Russia live in peace, to keep NATO away from Russian borders."
Notable quotes:
"... And now, at last, as the feasts are over, the real trial begins. The US is preparing a new round of sanctions, including seizure of Russian oligarch assets. They are ripe for collection. The confiscation of Russian holdings in Cyprus banks in 2013 passed without a hitch and served as a trial balloon. Putin didn't object overmuch, for he is a sworn enemy of offshore accounts. None of the fleeced Russian businessmen succeeded in recovering their losses in court. Now is the time for the real thing, and much of the anti-Russian hysteria is aimed at preparing the ground for the seizure. In this way, they plan to get a cool trillion dollars into the US Treasury. Who will lose his assets and who will survive, this is the talk of the day in Moscow. ..."
"... Now we are coming to a difficult part. The Deal. Connected people, in-the-know, claim that a top-secret agreement was reached between the late Mr Yeltsin and his cronies, on one side, and The West, on the other side, in 1991. Yeltsin et al had sold Russia's interests down the river, and in return, The West allowed the bastards to hoard their ill-gotten gains in the Western financial system. Yeltsin et al had promised to let the Soviet republics go; to disarm; to follow the Washington Consensus, i.e. to stick to the liberal economic model; to allow the free import of consumer goods; to allow Western access to the Russian military complex; to let the West write Russian laws; to permit the free outflow of capital from Russia. The West promised to bring investment, to let Russia live in peace, to keep NATO away from Russian borders. ..."
"... Mr Putin inherited The Deal. Slowly, the Deal has been eroded from both sides. NATO troops moved eastward, no sizeable investment came in, the West supported Chechen rebels. Russia limited Western access to its military-industrial complex; took Crimea; regained some of its international independence. ..."
"... The powerful personalities of Yeltsin's era remained embedded in the upper echelons of Putin's state. Chubais and Kudrin were and are untouchable. They are connected with the FRS and the IMF, they go to Bilderberg and Davos, they are often described as 'the colonial administration'. ..."
"... They steal with both hands, and do it with impunity. Just last week it was revealed and published that Mr Chubais and Mr Kudrin appropriated a cool billion dollars of Russian state money while repaying the Soviet debt to the Czech Republic. ..."
"... Yeltsin's oligarchs remained as rich as they were; Yeltsin's family still possesses immense riches. And Putin does not dare to touch them. He goes hat in hand to open a Yeltsin's Memorial Centre; he is courteous with Yeltsin's widow and daughter. Putin's establishment cautiously avoided celebration, or even mention of the Revolution centenary, in keeping with Yeltsin's anticommunism. This is the Deal. ..."
"... Putin has been unhappy with the Deal for a long time, vocally so since his Munich talk in 2007, but he stuck to the script. Even now, Russia's economy follows the liberal model; billions of dollars are being siphoned out of Russia monthly; billions of dollars' worth of Western manufactured consumer goods are imported and sold in Russia, though it would make perfect sense to organise local manufacture. Russia's Central Bank is directly connected to the Western finance system, and its emission is limited by the amount of hard currency in its coffers. The Rouble carry trade prospers, like the Yen carry trade did years ago. ..."
"... This presented the golden opportunity for the anti-Putin activists, the time they can collect the fruit of their hard work. A somewhat typical anti-Putin activist is an émigré, Mr Andrey Illarionov, a Yeltsin man, an ex-adviser to President Putin (until 2005), a US resident, a member of the loony Cato Institute and an adept of Ayn Rand. He is an anti-Russian fanatic; next to him Rachel Maddow is a Putin groupie and Tokyo Rose a symbol of patriotism. ..."
"... Speaking to the Congress Committee of Foreign Affairs in 2009, he famously claimed about the US administration policy towards Russia that "it is not even an appeasement policy so well known to us by another Munich decision in 1938, it is a surrender. A full, absolute, unconditional surrender to the regime of secret police officers, chekists and Mafiosi". Despite these fighting words, he is a frequent visitor to Moscow, and he never misses a demo where he can call out "Putin must leave" apparently unafraid of the "secret police officers, chekists and Mafiosi". This is all you should know about the totalitarian Russian regime! ..."
"... Now Mr Illarionov is lobbying the US Congress to remove its threats from the heads of those deserving oligarchs, who (in his words) amassed their fortune before advent of Mr Putin and "in order to survive, they had been forced to pay a large tribute to the Kremlin". His lobbying effort on behalf of the Old Money people has been shared and supported by two notorious Putin haters, a fellow émigré Piontkovsky and a Swedish Neo-Con Anders Aslund. ..."
"... This is not a coincidence; the Russian Old Money is solidly in bed with the Clinton camp. If Friedman succeeds in escaping the sanctions, it will be an additional proof that the Bankers still have the upper hand in the US Administration. ..."
"... Echo Moskwy ..."
"... But perhaps it is too late for him. An unverifiable odd rumour has risen in Moscow. They say that the Communist candidate Pavel Grudinin has strong backing among the "siloviki", that is Putin's appointees, often but not exclusively of security services background, for they are unhappy with Putin's adherence to the Deal. But that will be the subject of my next piece. ..."
"... Israel Shamir can be reached at adam@israelshamir.net ..."
"... That is my understanding also but I could be wrong. Excellent piece. But I have one small point–the crawling re-nationalization of many crucial industries did happen on Putin's watch. But in general, as I stated many times, he faces an inevitable meeting, if he were to survive as a politician, with the issue of 1990s robbery and with necessity to dismantle Yeltsin's "heritage'. ..."
"... I wonder how much of what Israel wrote might be real thing. If Putin really is going to do what you are writing he is going to be company of Russia history greatest. ..."
"... There is also indeed a question of all those offshore capitals which are stolen money. Considering state resources and capabilities there definitely might be an offer they cannot refuse to just give money back. ..."
"... Putin sure as hell has all necessary resources to make this offer. ..."
Jan 27, 2018 | www.unz.com

While you have probably already forgotten the feast, Russia is only now slowly coming back to life after its overlong Christmas break completed on January 14 by the quaintly named Old New Year, or even perhaps by the Epiphany on January 19. Everybody went somewhere, even candidates for the presidential race coming in on March 18: the Communist one went to ski in Austria, while the right-winger went to Bali. On the eve of Epiphany, they dipped in the ice-cold waters: the ultimate trial of Russian fitness. Not only he-man Putin, but even she-woman Sobchak did it!

And now, at last, as the feasts are over, the real trial begins. The US is preparing a new round of sanctions, including seizure of Russian oligarch assets. They are ripe for collection. The confiscation of Russian holdings in Cyprus banks in 2013 passed without a hitch and served as a trial balloon. Putin didn't object overmuch, for he is a sworn enemy of offshore accounts. None of the fleeced Russian businessmen succeeded in recovering their losses in court. Now is the time for the real thing, and much of the anti-Russian hysteria is aimed at preparing the ground for the seizure. In this way, they plan to get a cool trillion dollars into the US Treasury. Who will lose his assets and who will survive, this is the talk of the day in Moscow.

The Russian assets in the west could be divided into New Money, assets of Putin's people, and the Old Money, assets of Yeltsin's people. The sanctions are supposed to deal with Putin's people, but Russian experts think the Old Money is more vulnerable, for a good reason. The New Money is under Putin's protection. If the US or any other western authority grabs it, the Russian government may seize Western shares in Russian companies and properties.

But what about the Old Money? Its owners, elder oligarchs, are extremely worried about Putin's nonchalance. Putin takes it easy, they say. Ma'alish , the Arab in Putin says. Que sera sera , says his inner Frenchman. And this nonchalant attitude drives the oligarchs crazy. They want him to fight and save their money. They insisted on his meeting with President Trump in Vietnam; some say the meeting took place in the depth of the night, far from prying eyes, and didn't bring results. Now Putin says to the Old Money: if you want to save your money, repatriate it to Russia. We aren't that mad, they reply. You have to defend us anyway! That was the Deal!

Now we are coming to a difficult part. The Deal. Connected people, in-the-know, claim that a top-secret agreement was reached between the late Mr Yeltsin and his cronies, on one side, and The West, on the other side, in 1991. Yeltsin et al had sold Russia's interests down the river, and in return, The West allowed the bastards to hoard their ill-gotten gains in the Western financial system. Yeltsin et al had promised to let the Soviet republics go; to disarm; to follow the Washington Consensus, i.e. to stick to the liberal economic model; to allow the free import of consumer goods; to allow Western access to the Russian military complex; to let the West write Russian laws; to permit the free outflow of capital from Russia. The West promised to bring investment, to let Russia live in peace, to keep NATO away from Russian borders.

Mr Putin inherited The Deal. Slowly, the Deal has been eroded from both sides. NATO troops moved eastward, no sizeable investment came in, the West supported Chechen rebels. Russia limited Western access to its military-industrial complex; took Crimea; regained some of its international independence.

Putin was elected, or you may say, he was appointed to stick to the Deal and to serve as the Supreme Arbiter among the oligarchs, with very little of a power base of his own. Slowly, he created his own oligarchs (they are described as "siloviki", though not all of them have some security forces background), and he had built up a limited power base; though many important positions, in particular in the economic sphere, remained in the hands of the Old Guard, Yeltsin's men. This, too, was a part of the Deal.

The powerful personalities of Yeltsin's era remained embedded in the upper echelons of Putin's state. Chubais and Kudrin were and are untouchable. They are connected with the FRS and the IMF, they go to Bilderberg and Davos, they are often described as 'the colonial administration'.

They steal with both hands, and do it with impunity. Just last week it was revealed and published that Mr Chubais and Mr Kudrin appropriated a cool billion dollars of Russian state money while repaying the Soviet debt to the Czech Republic. The worst Putin can do about them is to give them a fat chunk of the Russian economy to chew on, while limiting their access to the rest. So he gave Mr Chubais the Rusnano company that made no profit but embezzled billions . This was the Deal.

Yeltsin's oligarchs remained as rich as they were; Yeltsin's family still possesses immense riches. And Putin does not dare to touch them. He goes hat in hand to open a Yeltsin's Memorial Centre; he is courteous with Yeltsin's widow and daughter. Putin's establishment cautiously avoided celebration, or even mention of the Revolution centenary, in keeping with Yeltsin's anticommunism. This is the Deal.

The topmost schools of Russia, the most endowed, the most privileged schools for the children of the new nobility are the HSE, (the Higher School of Economics, a clone of the LSE and the economic think-tank of the government), and MGIMO, (Moscow State Institute of International Relations, the school for perspective diplomats). Their graduates were been trained to despise Russia and admire the neo-liberal West (just like the Indian students trained by the Brits, had admired England and despised their country in the days of the British Raj). Professor Medvedev of the HSE called upon Russian government to transfer the Russian Far North to the international community, though this is the place of the greatest gas reserves (he kept his position). Professor Zubov of the MGIMO had compared Putin to Hitler, and denounced Russian diplomats as liars (his contract hasn't been prolonged). All that is a part of the Deal.

Putin has been unhappy with the Deal for a long time, vocally so since his Munich talk in 2007, but he stuck to the script. Even now, Russia's economy follows the liberal model; billions of dollars are being siphoned out of Russia monthly; billions of dollars' worth of Western manufactured consumer goods are imported and sold in Russia, though it would make perfect sense to organise local manufacture. Russia's Central Bank is directly connected to the Western finance system, and its emission is limited by the amount of hard currency in its coffers. The Rouble carry trade prospers, like the Yen carry trade did years ago.

Meanwhile, the Deal has been undone from the West, as a result of the epic struggle between Bankers and Producers, otherwise described as Liberals vs. Conservatives, or Globalists vs. Regionalists, personalised as Clinton vs. Trump. Yeltsin's people are historically aligned with the Clinton camp. Now, their assets in the West, previously protected by the Deal, have lost their protection and come up for grabs.

The Old Money people are putting their effort into persuading the West, namely the US, to let them live in peace and instead confiscate the pro-Putin New Money.

This presented the golden opportunity for the anti-Putin activists, the time they can collect the fruit of their hard work. A somewhat typical anti-Putin activist is an émigré, Mr Andrey Illarionov, a Yeltsin man, an ex-adviser to President Putin (until 2005), a US resident, a member of the loony Cato Institute and an adept of Ayn Rand. He is an anti-Russian fanatic; next to him Rachel Maddow is a Putin groupie and Tokyo Rose a symbol of patriotism.

Speaking to the Congress Committee of Foreign Affairs in 2009, he famously claimed about the US administration policy towards Russia that "it is not even an appeasement policy so well known to us by another Munich decision in 1938, it is a surrender. A full, absolute, unconditional surrender to the regime of secret police officers, chekists and Mafiosi". Despite these fighting words, he is a frequent visitor to Moscow, and he never misses a demo where he can call out "Putin must leave" apparently unafraid of the "secret police officers, chekists and Mafiosi". This is all you should know about the totalitarian Russian regime!

(Émigrés are frequently like that, and the US, a country of immigrants, had been vulnerable to the attack by Illarionov Syndrome, by listening to Masha Gessen, or to Ahmed Chalabi, the Iraqi émigré who claimed Iraq has had WMD, to Alexander Solzhenitsyn with his horror stories about GULAG, etc. I made it a rule to moderate my critique of Israel while abroad, in fear of failing the Illarionov Sanity Test.)

Now Mr Illarionov is lobbying the US Congress to remove its threats from the heads of those deserving oligarchs, who (in his words) amassed their fortune before advent of Mr Putin and "in order to survive, they had been forced to pay a large tribute to the Kremlin". His lobbying effort on behalf of the Old Money people has been shared and supported by two notorious Putin haters, a fellow émigré Piontkovsky and a Swedish Neo-Con Anders Aslund.

Direct and generous beneficiaries of their lobbying are the Three Alpha Jews, Peter Aven, Michael Friedman and Herman Khan. They are owners of the Alpha Bank, a very big Russian bank , and they are Old Money oligarchs from Yeltsin's days when their kin ruled the land.

Michael Friedman, the fat guy with a jolly piglet face, rose to his eminence from being a ticket tout selling illegally obtained opera tickets to Western tourists near Bolshoi Theatre; afterwards he became The Mind behind all ticket mafias in Moscow, and then proceeded to banking and so many other things.

Like many Old Money guys, Friedman earns money in Russia, but siphons it off for Jewish causes. He is a co-founder of a "Jewish Nobel Prize", also called Genesis Prize, a cool million dollars being given annually to a deserving Jew, the most recent one being the notorious Ruth Bader Ginsburg who called Donald Trump, "the faker". This is not a coincidence; the Russian Old Money is solidly in bed with the Clinton camp. If Friedman succeeds in escaping the sanctions, it will be an additional proof that the Bankers still have the upper hand in the US Administration.

Alternatively, it could mean they are just smart and able to play the both houses. The Three Alpha Jews had been mentioned in the Steele Dossier as the conduit of Putin influence for Trump and against Clinton in the recent US Presidential elections. (They are suing Fusion GPS and BuzzFeed for spreading the accusation).

According to an even better conspiracy theory spread on the social networks, both Mr Illarionov and the smart Alpha Jews are a sleeper cell organised by cunning Mr Putin to ensure his survival in the most adverse conditions. All of them were very friendly with Putin; perhaps they just pretended to become his enemies, the conspiratorially minded journalist from the anti-Putin Echo Moskwy has implied.

Leaving the conspiracy theories aside for a while, we can reach a conclusion. The forthcoming attack of the US establishment on Russian assets is likely to undermine the Old Money of the Yeltsin Oligarchs, and not only them. This confiscation will spell the death knell to the notorious Deal, and then we shall see Putin Unbound.

But perhaps it is too late for him. An unverifiable odd rumour has risen in Moscow. They say that the Communist candidate Pavel Grudinin has strong backing among the "siloviki", that is Putin's appointees, often but not exclusively of security services background, for they are unhappy with Putin's adherence to the Deal. But that will be the subject of my next piece.

Israel Shamir can be reached at adam@israelshamir.net

This article was first published at The Unz Review .


Andrei Martyanov , Website January 26, 2018 at 3:17 pm GMT

The forthcoming attack of the US establishment on Russian assets is likely to undermine the Old Money of the Yeltsin Oligarchs, and not only them. This confiscation will spell the death knell to the notorious Deal, and then we shall see Putin Unbound.

That is my understanding also but I could be wrong. Excellent piece. But I have one small point–the crawling re-nationalization of many crucial industries did happen on Putin's watch. But in general, as I stated many times, he faces an inevitable meeting, if he were to survive as a politician, with the issue of 1990s robbery and with necessity to dismantle Yeltsin's "heritage'.

Alias Anonymous , January 26, 2018 at 3:52 pm GMT
"Que sera sera". One of my favorite songs. Sung by Doris Day and was a hit in the 1950′s. Italian in origin and translates to "whatever will be, will be".
Anon Disclaimer , January 26, 2018 at 4:24 pm GMT
On topic, hoping to elicit comments: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5315353/Tycoon-swaps-Putins-daughter-glamorous-socialite.html

Slightly OT: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5314897/George-Soros-calls-Trump-blistering-Davos-speech.html

That masterful Freud! Mafia govmn't = pure projection. Plus the war cry for 2018 is official.

The swipe at Solzhenitsyn beneath you, Mr. Shamir.

Andrei Martyanov , Website January 26, 2018 at 5:15 pm GMT
@Anon

The swipe at Solzhenitsyn beneath you, Mr. Shamir.

When did Solzhenitsyn gain the sainthood status? Can you remind us please.

Sergey Krieger , January 26, 2018 at 7:57 pm GMT
@Andrei Martyanov

Agree. I wonder how much of what Israel wrote might be real thing. If Putin really is going to do what you are writing he is going to be company of Russia history greatest.

Sergey Krieger , January 26, 2018 at 8:02 pm GMT
@Andrei Martyanov

There is also indeed a question of all those offshore capitals which are stolen money. Considering state resources and capabilities there definitely might be an offer they cannot refuse to just give money back.

Andrei Martyanov , Website January 26, 2018 at 8:58 pm GMT
@Sergey Krieger

there definitely might be an offer they cannot refuse to just give money back.

Putin sure as hell has all necessary resources to make this offer.

[Jan 13, 2018] Stephen F. Cohen The US Betrayed Russia, but It Is Not News That s Fit to Print (Podcast)

Notable quotes:
"... The New York Times ..."
"... The New Republic ..."
"... Failed Crusade: American and the Tragedy of Post-Communist Russia ..."
"... The Washington Post ..."
"... The National Interest ..."
"... The American Conservative ..."
"... Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives ..."
Jan 13, 2018 | russia-insider.com

New evidence that Washington broke its promise not to expand NATO "one inch eastward" -- a fateful decision with ongoing ramifications -- has not been reported by The New York Times or other agenda-setting media outlets John Batchelor Jan 11, 2018 | 2,513 70

John Batchelor has a very popular political talk show on America's largest radio network, WABC.

He has Stephen Cohen on live in the studio almost every week for a full 45 minute segment, the only guest he gives that much time to.

Why? Because Cohen's appearances are killing the ratings. America seems to be thirsting for an alternative and critical view of Obama's Russia policy.

See below for a summary of this program courtesy of The Nation .

http://embeds.audioboom.com/posts/6588850-tales-of-the-new-cold-war-was-gorbachev-deceived-and-other-media-mysteries-left-unreported-part-1-of-2-stephen-f-cohen-nyu-princeton-eastwestaccord-com/embed/v4?eid=AQAAAD9tV1qyiWQA

http://embeds.audioboom.com/posts/6588851-tales-of-the-new-cold-war-was-gorbachev-deceived-and-other-media-mysteries-left-unreported-part-2-of-2-stephen-f-cohen-nyu-princeton-eastwestaccord-com/embed/v4?eid=AQAAAD9tV1qziWQA

Cohen returns to a subject he has treated repeatedly since the 1990s, mainstream media malpractice in covering Russia, but with a new and highly indicative example that is both historical and profoundly contemporary.

There have been three relevant major episodes of such malpractice. The first was when American newspapers, particularly The New York Times , misled readers into thinking the Communists could not possibly win the Russian Civil War of 1918–20, as detailed in a study by Walter Lippmann and Charles Merz, published as a supplement to The New Republic , August 4, 1920. (Once canonical, the study was for years assigned reading at journalism schools, but no longer it seems to be.)

https://lockerdome.com/lad/9533801169000550?pubid=ld-1806-5338&pubo=http%3A%2F%2Frussia-insider.com&rid=russia-insider.com&width=745

Failed Crusade: American and the Tragedy of Post-Communist Russia .)

The third and current episode grew out of the second but spread quickly through the media in the early 2000s with the demonization of Vladimir Putin, Yeltsin's successor, and now is amply evidenced by mainstream coverage of the new Cold War, Russiagate's allegation that "Russia attacked American democracy" in 2016, and much else related to Russia. This rendition may be the worst, certainly it is the most dangerous.

Media malpractice has various elements -- among them, selective use of facts, some unverified, highly questionable narratives or reporting based on those "facts," mingled with editorial commentary passed off as "analysis," buttressed by carefully selected "expert sources," often anonymous, and amplified by carefully chosen opinion page contributors. Throughout is the systematic practice of excluding developments (and opinion) that do not conform to the Times ' venerable motto, "All the News That's Fit to Print." When it comes to Russia, the Times often decides politically what is fit and what is not. And thus the most recent but exceedingly important example.

In 1990, Soviet Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev agreed not only to the reunification of Germany, whose division was the epicenter of that Cold War, but also, at the urging of the Western powers, particularly the United States, that the new Germany would be a member of NATO. (Already embattled at home, Gorbachev was further weakened by his decision, which probably contributed to the attempted coup against him in August 1991.)

Gorbachev made the decision based on assurances by his then–Western "partners" that in return NATO would never be expanded "one inch eastward" toward Russia. (Today, having nearly doubled its member countries, the world's most powerful military alliance sits on Russia's western borders.) At the time, it was known that President George H.W. Bush had especially persuaded Gorbachev through Secretary of State James Baker's "not one inch" and other equally emphatic guarantees.

Now, however, the invaluable National Security Archive at George Washington University has established the historical truth by publishing, on December 12 of last year, not only a detailed account of what Gorbachev was promised in 1990–91 but the relevant documents themselves . The truth, and the promises broken, are much more expansive than previously known: All of the Western powers involved -- the US, the UK, France, Germany itself -- made the same promise to Gorbachev on multiple occasions and in various emphatic ways. If we ask when the West, particularly Washington, lost Moscow as a potential strategic partner after the end of the Soviet Union, this is where an explanation begins.

And yet, nearly a month after the publication of the National Security Archive documents, neither the Times nor The Washington Post , which profess to be the nation's most important, reliable, and indispensable political newspapers, has published one word about this revelation. (Certainly the two papers are pervasively important to other media, not only due to their daily national syndicates but because today's broadcast media, especially CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and PBS, take most of their own Russia-related "reporting" cues from the Times and the Post .)

How to explain the failure of the Times and Post to report or otherwise comment on the National Security Archive's publication? It can hardly be their lack of space or their disinterest in Russia, which they featured regularly in one kind of unflattering story or another -- and almost daily in the form of "Russiagate." Given their immense daily news-gathering capabilities, could both papers have missed the story? Impossible, even more so considering that three lesser publications -- The National Interest , on December 12; Bloomberg , on December 13; and The American Conservative , on December 22 -- reported and commented on its significance at length.

Or perhaps the Times and Post consider the history and process of NATO expansion to be no longer newsworthy, even though it has been the driving, escalatory factor behind the new US-Russian Cold War; already contributed to two US-Russian proxy hot wars (in Georgia in 2008 and in Ukraine since 2014) as well as to NATO's ongoing buildup on Russia's borders in the Baltic region, which is fraught with the possibility of an actual war between the nuclear superpowers; provoked Russia into reactions now cited as "grave threats"; nearly vaporized politically both the once robust pro-American lobby in Moscow politics and the previously widespread pro-American sentiments among Russian citizens; and implanted in at least one generation of the Russian policy elite the conviction that the broken promise to Gorbachev represented characteristic American "betrayal and deceit."

Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives .) Russians can cite other instances of "deceit," including President George W. Bush's 2002 unilateral abrogation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and Obama's broken promise that he would not use a 2011 UN Security Council resolution to depose Libyan leader Gaddafi. But it is the broken promise to Gorbachev that lingers as America's original sin, partly because it was the first of many such perceived duplicities, but mainly because it has resulted in a Russia semi-encircled by US-led Western military power, an encroachment that continues today.

Given all this, we must ask again: Why did neither the Times nor the Post report the archive revelations? Most likely because the evidence fundamentally undermines their essential overarching narrative that Putin's Russia is solely responsible for the new Cold War and all of its attendant conflicts and dangers, and therefore that no rethinking of US policy toward post-Soviet Russia since 1991 is advisable or, it seems, permissible, certainly not by President Donald Trump. Therein lie the national-security dangers of media malpractice, and this example, while of special importance, is far from the only one in recent years. In this regard, the Times and Post seem contemptuous not only of their own professed journalistic standards but of their purportedly cherished adage that democracy requires fully informed citizens.

If Americans cannot rely on the Times and Post , at least in regard to US-Russian relations, where can they seek the information and analysis they need? There are many valuable alternative media outlets, but few hard-working citizens have time to locate and consult them. Cohen recommends that they turn to two websites that almost daily aggregate reporting, analysis, and opinion not to be found in the Times , Post , or most other mainstream publications. One is Johnson's Russia List . The other is the website of the American Committee for East-West Accord , of which Cohen is a board member. Upon request, both will come to your computer. The former requests a nominal donation but does not insist on it. The latter is free. For readers who worry about international affairs, the new US-Russian Cold War, and America itself, the information and perspectives they will gain from these sites are invaluable.

Source: The John Batchelor Show

Vtran , January 11, 2018 11:09 AM

American citizens Never have adhered to agreements, Cease Fires, Peace Agreements ....Just look at the First Nations

Isabella Jones Vtran , January 11, 2018 3:28 PM

It is something of a mystery that this should have escaped Gorbachev, although Cohen does say that Conservatives warned him against going with the flow on this one. He ignored them.
There's an old saying about leopards and never changing their spots. I guess he was as fooled, as many are, that the appalling history of the US was in each case a separate incident, involving and caused by different people, and therefor "it will be different this time." Gorbachev was willing to overlook the horrific evidence of an Anglo West planning to destroy the Russia who had saved their bacon by winning WWII for them; and to destroy her utterly and horrifically. That he could overlook that beggars belief.
It's so essential to get the bigger picture, to read the History of the Nations you are dealing with extensively, to determine how to connect the dots to find the pattern, and to realise that ultimately nations are an aggregate of systems - and a system is far more powerful than most individuals [until you find a rare person who knows how to break the system].
Sadly, it seems that they had fallen for the idea too, that, as V. P. said when Russia abandoned communism, their opponent would "to them hand the sword". i.e. would become partners and equals. That was never going to happen. It also shows us, once again, that all too often political leaders are not well enough educated, not well enough informed and not bright enough, to undertake the job of national leader which they do.
And we are not interested nor thoughtful enough to demand better.

Tommy Jensen Isabella Jones , January 11, 2018 5:41 PM

...And we may not be educated suficient to look through the matter.
Before 1968 in Nordic countries with Sweden had hollistic education systems, making academics able to see the whole picture.

After 1968-70 they changed the education system so the working class could get academic degrees, but separated the disciplines so you only were able to see your part and not the whole picture and leaving out history and roots.
Newspeak was introduced and started.
Its about classes, deliberately leaving the knowledge and whole picture to the elite.

Any hollistic educated who analyse US history should be able to see that you deal with a hypocrite and liar country throughout from start up til today.
When Russia with its excellent education system missed the point in 1990´es I think it maybe more due to their previous suffering and emotional culture, than to actual foolishness as we can see the Russians quickly raised their heads again from the ashes.

John Mason Tommy Jensen , January 12, 2018 12:52 AM

Same happened here in Australia Tommy, they lowered the education standard so that anyone can obtain a University Degree under the belief that everyone is entitled to one and not only those best suited. Now one has idiots running corporations and in politics. Getting them out is the problem. I have always expressed concern that those who wish to go into politics and government should present to the Public a full resume as anyone would who is seeking a senior position in a corporation.

Isabella Jones John Mason , January 12, 2018 3:29 AM

Very true John.
If you look at the entire system, we see that immense power over the lives of millions of people is given to those who don't have to show any form of qualification for the job; any training; or prior experience, assessment by qualified experience assessors.

In fact, all they have to be able do is to generate money for themselves by making promises to others using taxpayer money; present themselves in a slick, eye catching fashion like an aspiring film actor auditioning for a role; lie; as Vladimir Putin said "make promises better than those of your competitor"; and sell meaningless words better than a used car salesman.

In other words, present themselves to voters as an ignorant, inexperienced psychopathic, criminally fraudulent, snake oil salesman. And then we wonder why that's exactly what we get as our "leaders". !!

John Mason Isabella Jones , January 12, 2018 10:18 AM

Very passionate you are on this subject your profundity is a source of enlightenment Isabella.

Isabella Jones John Mason , January 12, 2018 10:42 AM

Thank you John - yes I do feel deeply that as civilisations, we have strayed from so much that is balanced, natural, and optimal for human growth and happiness. We have so much in our cultures that beggars belief in it's stupidity- and as always, the very stupid are too stupid to know that they are very stupid. I see us preening ourselves as the epitome of civilisation, when research into the distant past shows we have had about 3.5 thousand years of slow, non-stop collapse including an arrogant ignorance.
Yet the answers are so close to hand. It's only an understanding of where we have all gone wrong, and a willingness to do what needs to be done to correct it which will stop us falling into the night, I suspect.
Then again, I remember that everything happens in circles, and follows Universal Laws. Maybe we have no course but to follow the natural pattern we have put ourselves on try to learn from it.
Thanks for your kind words John.

Isabella Jones Tommy Jensen , January 11, 2018 9:46 PM

Yes, all this was about the time they introduced the "expert". Prior to that idea, a well educated, intelligent person was held to have a wide ranging education, and to be familiar with many different disciplines. They they got the "expert" idea - a mechanic in my - then - University Department informed me that "expert means, here is x which marks the spot of a drip under pressure" !! :-)
Now we have people who know more and more about less and less until they reach the pinnacle where they know absolutely everything about nothing.
Yes, I think the Russian education got infected by America, and in the struggle to break free of all the other disasters that caused - just to survive as a country and as a people - this is an issue that has had to be put on a back burner. But they are doing fine in spite of it, and I'm sure will find their way back to the best of the Soviet times education.

Vtran Isabella Jones , January 12, 2018 2:58 PM

I still (and know not alone) feel Gorbachev is a Traitor that "sold" the USSR, the People of the USSR for Personal ("friends") gain .... so he knew what would happen !

Remember the people of the USSR wanted to work through the "problems / issues" leaving the USSR intact but Gorbachev decided to GO AGAINST the Wishes of the People / Wishes of the country and allowed the regions to "break free" including denying the right for Crimea to Return to RF (loaned to Ukraine while USSR existed) .... why would you Do that except for your own agenda !

And Where does Gorbachev live .... but in U$ america ... and every time he visits RF he comes with masses of Body Guards

Isabella Jones Vtran , January 12, 2018 4:30 PM

That last part is very interesting Vtran - I didn't know he lived in America.
I hadn't caught up with any documentation about his "friends", although there is the comment - with the long/lat given of the area on the documentary "The Unknown Putin" - that Gorbachev sold to US what wasn't his to sell - a huge chunk of sea off the coast of Russia, containing massive amounts of oil deposits!! He did it to get the money to try and defeat Yeltsin!! So, he has a track record, and as the saying goes "he who lies once, lies ten times". The principle holds for everything, as well as lying. I also didn't know that there were grass roots movements of people trying to stop the collapse of the USSR.
Can you recommend any good modern history resource which covers these events please?
I got a lot from that excellent documentary, but as is so often one is left wanting more.
I know Vladimir Putin doesn't like him - not one bit. I could "read" it from the Stone Interviews :-)
I certainly agree with you - that if he did all that, selling out the people of Russia - no way does he deserve to be grouped with them, they aren't "his" people, in that case - then yes, he was a sellout traitor. Should count himself lucky to be alive!!

Vtran Isabella Jones , January 12, 2018 10:34 PM

Isabella,, I will look for a document regarding Gorbachev selling out the people of the USSR .... However my comment is personnel ... all Russians I know, all people of the ex USSR (except those of fanatical Ukraine) speak as One ...The did not at the USSR to break ... their views were "over ridden" !
-
Interesting comment of "selling off which does not belong" reminiscent of Alaska where the Gold supposedly exchange disappeared after the western inspired revolution of 1918 !

Isabella Jones Vtran , January 12, 2018 10:38 PM

Joined a small river of disappeared gold from many places Vtran with Libya and Iraq being the latest!!

Le Ruse Vtran , January 12, 2018 12:58 AM

Quote: Over 500 treaties were made with American Indian tribes, primarily for land cessations, but 500 treaties were also broken, changed or nullified when it served the government's interests.

Qua Patet Orbis Le Ruse , January 12, 2018 2:31 AM

White men speak with forked tongue....

Le Ruse Qua Patet Orbis , January 12, 2018 3:34 AM

Like that one ??
View Hide

Vtran Le Ruse , January 12, 2018 2:49 PM

Because U$ Americans citizens thought the had "Given away STOLEN Worthless Land" .... and then found that "Worthless Land" contained "Yellow Gold" ...... later more so called "Worthless Land" contained Black Gold and so it went on

Le Ruse Vtran , January 12, 2018 7:30 PM

Yupp...
Like the mineral & natural wealth of Russia, doesn't belong to Russia, but belong to the WORLD (a.k.a. City of London/Wall St) ??
Mad Madeleine Notsobright.

Kjell Hasthi Vtran , January 11, 2018 7:51 PM

Who was Christopher Columbus? Any can check it out. My guess as another Vtran.
- What do you see?
- No gold yet?
- Of course there is gold there
It was the same as Europa. War in Indians replaced war on Muslim.

paul , January 11, 2018 11:35 AM

This a a very unhelpful spin by Cohen. Dugin, addressing the end of the cold war, reports that Brzezinski once told him, "we tricked you." That's what happened. This is what Russians need to think about when speaking with their common law partners.

Alberto , January 11, 2018 12:52 PM

I have wondered many times how the S Union, a nation with so many brilliant people, could chose someone like Gorbatchev to lead the country.
Reagan and Thatcher did whatever they wanted with him. They achieved all their objectives in dealing with Gorbachev because he was receptive, soft and a puppet. Worst of all, he was a mix of an idiot and naif by believing them.
It was hard to build the S Union, very hard, and Gorbatchev wanted to make a transition from socialism to capitalism in one year. Only an idiot could think like that.
He is the main responsible not only of the demise of the S Union but of the shameful accumulation of wealth in the hands of a bunch of soulless oligarchs whose wealth, to date, remain untouched.
As a communist, I ask myself how could a guy like him lead the S Union. Yeltsin was another calamity but the main responsible of the debacle is Gorbachev.
As a result of his stupidity, not only millions of Soviets encountered poverty and criminality, but he opened the way to the unipolar world. Many invasions took place because the US. did not face any opposition.
North Korea had to rearm itself to protect. Cuba underwent a terrible period.
Gorbachev will go down in the history of Russia and communist from across the world as an idiot, as an irresponsible leader and as a traitor.

mark Alberto , January 11, 2018 2:30 PM

This is very true. Millions died as a result of this colossal stupidity. Tens of millions more suffered appalling misery and destitution. Several countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, have been completely destroyed. These are crimes on a gargantuan scale. And there has been zero accountability.

Alberto mark , January 11, 2018 2:37 PM

Right, zero accountability because the S Union was influential on world institutions. Because of "imported liberalism in 365 days" many factories closed (because they were not "modern"), many good engineers became poor, families destroyed, all sorts of gangs emerged, collective property and natural resources went to oligarchs without scruples for a cheap price. And there was no bread in stores.

All thanks to Gorbachev who was in power almost 17 years, a long period in which he succumbed to the sweet-talk of Reagan and Thatcher.

VeeNarian (Yerevan) , January 11, 2018 3:16 PM

Having lived through the incredible 90s and the end of the Soviet Union, I believe that it was not wrong for Gorbachev to seek partnership with the West. That move brought all of mankind back from the precipice of total extinction. It was the LYING and deceitful actions of the "superior and civilized" West that betrayed the world and their own interests, just to expand their territory and control, like some mindless plague that knows no morality.

There must be balance in world affairs. Power corrupts and absolute power has corrupted the US/EU/NATO gang absolutely. The West's loss is the worlds gain. Russia will lead the free nations away from the rotten and putrid fate offered by the death merchants of the West.

AM Hants VeeNarian (Yerevan) , January 11, 2018 4:50 PM

I remember those times, but, it was 'Spitting Image' that made the memories. The thought of John Major, still makes my skin crawl.

Nuclear War...

Play Hide
Krestovan VeeNarian (Yerevan) , January 11, 2018 10:23 PM

Russia cannot seem to be able to lead itself from the cluches of the ooligarks who out send capital Russia desparately needs. If and when Russia cleans up the mess that Gorby, Gelsman, and others made, there will not be any free nations or any hope for peace and freedom in this late stage of mankind's probationary time.

Gerry Hiles , January 11, 2018 1:05 PM

No wonder we are in deep trouble! How shall I say? Well Stephen Cohen is too pedestrian, to put it mildly. There is nothing I have ever heard him say that I did not know years ago. Wow the NYT and WaPo both publish fake news and omit what isn't convenient ideologically. Go suck eggs granny. Even if large numbers of people in the US now listen to him (which I very much doubt), he's too late by decades and will probably never catch up with the fact that 9/11 was an inside job/CIA/Mossad operation. As for Gorbachev, Yeltsin, US deception, etc., he could have asked me a thing or six back in the 80s when Gorbachev was best buddies with Reagan and Thatcher, it was bleedin' obvious that he was a dupe, though at first I was hopeful for glasnost and perestroika.

Not that I didn't have hopes for the Soviet Union anyway, nor that I didn't understand hanging on to Eastern Europe for too long, because of US betrayal after WW2 ... heck Prof Cohen, since when hasn't Russia been betrayed?. Too late for all those who either couldn't or wouldn't be informed decades ago. Too late for there to be any chance of averting escalation to WW3, unless by more or less luck, such as the US internally imploding like the Soviet Union did but, unlike the Soviet Union's collapse by US design, collapse of its own hubris and Empire over-reach, perhaps. Academics generally do not impress me.
.
Sorry if I have condensed too much, but I daresay some will know what I'm getting at.

John McClain , January 11, 2018 12:01 PM

As a "well informed American", a retired Marine, and having spent some two decades in research of our "national history", as it relates to the status of the world today, I have to say, I've not deliberately read either paper since I was in third or fourth grade, and then only because we lived in Massachusetts for a couple years.

I spent nine years in Chicago, before entering the Marines, and as a "paper boy", laughed at headlines every day, knowing the lies for what they were, and having "truth" solely because my parents subscribed me to Popular Mechanics and Popular Science, because I'm dyslexic, had problems in school, but am endowed with talent in mechanics and the hard sciences.

Those two magazines spent their pages defining the world of mechanics, moving forward, and the world of science, advancing, and while most facts regarding "our state of our Nation" were indirect, just part of background, when a boy reads such cover to cover, every month dozens of times, for a decade and more, the bits and pieces add up and paint a picture behind the "mechanical issue or science issue", that is easily seen, looking past, and is intrinsically absolutely true, because no part was put up for the purpose of "the big picture", but the big picture naturally emerges, when sufficient bits and pieces of data accumulate, and we add them to what has long been accepted as true, tested and tried.

Having come to understandings by multiple articles on definitive science and engineering, with background bits and pieces coalescing, simply reading headlines were nothing but amusing, and the greatest factor was wondering how adults could believe this trash.

I began with the intent to debunk all the conspiracy theories regarding McCarthy and government, and ended up with the certainty McCarthy was right, he simply named them wrong, they were "Bolsheviks", using socialism and communism for cover, with the full intent of overthrowing our government, and they have continued to this day.

We have become "an empire whose people follow the Emperor, even when he dances around with no clothes, never believing that boy who actually sees.
Semper Fidelis,
John McClain
Vanceboro, NC, USA

AM Hants John McClain , January 11, 2018 4:35 PM

Well said. It is quite refreshing, as I have been upsetting a few of your neighbours over on Info Wars. The activists, who are desperate for a war with Iran, managed to leave Breit Bart for the day and flock to one of the articles. Together with those that have no idea that the US is in a bad way, economically. As I find myself being labelled a Soros paid troll. The standard of debate is quite soul destroying, until you can get somebody, who does not need personal insult to enhance their argument. Which is so liberating.

Socrates207 , January 11, 2018 4:24 PM

You have to be very naive to trust the American government, it is like to trust Al Capone. No wonder Putin doen's trust them one inch.

DIRTY TEXAN , January 12, 2018 11:36 AM

For those who know what Russians are this is no surprise. A classless herd of sheep lead by a maniacal leader. If you think ISIS or Hitler were bad you should read about Russian history and the atrocities they have perpetrated and continue today.

AM Hants , January 12, 2018 7:40 AM

Off topic, but, related. A few interesting articles that all merge together.

Putin: Turkey not responsible for drone attack; Russia knows who was
Russian President calls drone attack "provocation" aimed at causing rift between Russia and Turkey... http://theduran.com/putin-t...

WATCH as US denies involvement in drone attack on Russian base in Syria... http://www.fort-russ.com/20...

How does Ukraine, fit into it, bearing in mind that Ukraine is planning similar in Crimea. The same Ukraine that does so well from having the US Bio-weapons factories up and running. Not forgetting that NATO is also setting up a base in Khakov, non-NATO territory and close to the bio-weapons factories. Then you have the mother craft, found hovering around the Russian bases in Syria and her sister working so hard around Crimea.

Remember the Pentagon begging for Russian DNA? Now what was that all about?

Kharkov Is Forcibly Prepared For The Status of a NATO Base (remember Ukraine is a non-NATO nation)...http:// www.stalkerzone.org/kharkov ...

US Military Bio-labs in Ukraine, Production of Bio-weapons and "Disease Causing Agents"

In 2015, American alternative media outlet InfoWars accused the Pentagon of developing new types of biological weapons in secret military laboratories in Ukraine. The facilities were constructed under the terms of the bilateral agreement signed between the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and the Department of Defense in 2012.

Today thirteen American military bio-labs operate in Ukraine, The International Mass Media Agency reports. They employ only American specialists being entirely funded from the budget of the Department of Defense. Local authorities have pledged not to interfere in their work. These military labs are reported to be mainly involved in the study and production of disease-causing agents of smallpox, anthrax and botulism. The facilities are located in the following Ukrainian cities: Odessa, Vinnytsia, Uzhgorod, Lviv (three), Kharkiv, Kyiv (four), Kherson, Ternopil.

http://theinformer.life/us- ...

Russia Says U.S. Expanding Bioweapons Labs in Europe U.S. denies claim outlined in new Russian strategy http://freebeacon.com/natio...

AM Hants , January 11, 2018 6:02 PM

Slightly off topic, but, another story of the West trying to upset Russia. Followed by what came next, which made me seriously laugh. The first article is well worth reading, just for the awe aspect and mega congratulations to the team. The 2nd article, just made me laugh. You gotta love those sanctions. Where there is a will there is a way.

Russia Wins in Arctic After U.S. Fails to Kill Giant Gas Project... https://www.bloomberg.com/n...

What comes next?

HEY TRUMP, LOOK WHO WILL WARM UP THE EAST COAST, GAS FROM MOTHER RUSSIA TO WARM CHILLY BOSTON !... http://nrt24.ru/en/news/hey...

View Hide
AM Hants AM Hants , January 11, 2018 6:21 PM

Yamal LNG and container tanks. View Hide

Mia Williams , January 11, 2018 5:23 PM

President Gorbachev has made clear several times that the agreement reached with the former Soviet Union regarding NATO and the reunification of Germany was specific to the East/West line through Germany. To date Germany and NATO have kept that promise.

What are Russia's rights? Well, Moscow simply has no right to expect that her neighbors do not enjoy the sovereign right to join any alliances each may wish.

Krestovan Mia Williams , January 11, 2018 10:36 PM

Providing they were sovereign which they are not but under the EU control.

observerBG Mia Williams , January 11, 2018 6:44 PM

James Baker (and others) told Gorbachev that NATO will not expand to the East so western powers are a bunch liars, that's for sure.

As for sovereign rights, that also depends if the organisation is willing to accept a certain country, not only if the country wants to join it. Germany and France for example blocked Ukraine and Georgia from joining NATO in 2008. Countries are also allowed to join NATO in order to contribute to its security and i'm not sure about the "gain" of taking small countries on the border of the biggest nuclear power. That increases the possibility for arms race and for war between the major powers, that's for sure.

Also it is unclear how "sovereign" these decisions are, since lots of western money was invested in media, NGOs and political leaders and parties in Eastern Europe in order to promote pro-NATO views. US government officials bragged about "investing" 5 billion dollars in Ukraine for that purpose.

So those countries and their politicians were basically bribed, while their population propagandised via foreign sponsored media. This has nothing to do with sovereignity, rather its about interfering in other countries affairs.

Moreover, the US uses loopholes in international law in order to support rebels in various countries, to stage coups and to interefere in democracy and elections, with the aim of changing the politics of the target country, and even balkanising/disintegrating the target country.

Well, if the US can do that, others can too, hence the rebels in Ukraine, who are now preventing the country from joining NATO.

It could be much more simple. An agreement for buffer zone between NATO and Russia, so that peace and stability are secured. Or it could be "my way or the high way" mentality, which of course leads to wars and destabilisation. Which will not be a good thing in the nuclear proliferation era.

Russia wants peace and stability. The US does not. Its entire geopolitical strategy is based on destabilising the rest of the world, so that it remains divided and mired in internal squabbles, and no strong power could arise there. In addition to fueling conflict and selling weapons to both sides while staying out of it. Divide and rule.

The Russian (and Chinese - OBOR) strategy will be to stabilise, unite and interconnect the rest of the world, particularly Eurasia, in order to overthrow the US - the great disruptor. And as of now, they are winning.

Mia Williams observerBG , January 11, 2018 8:29 PM

Personally speaking, I have little choice but to go with what Presidents Gorbachev and Reagan, along with FM Shevardnadze and Secretary Baker, have said on the subject. Not moving NATO troops or equipment one step east of the East/West German line of the time was promised. This happens to fall precisely in line with what German Chancellor Schroeder has said and written as well. The context of the discussions were in the context of Germany, not the whole of Europe.

According to President Gorbachev the collapse of the Soviet Union was not conceivable at that time. Thus, according to Mr. Gorbachev, he never participated in any discussion of Soviet States joining (or not joining) NATO.

Lastly, I reject the popular notion in some circles that all who align themselves with Russia do so out of free will but those who align themselves with the U.S. and the West must be corrupt or coorced. I believe such ideas ring of arrogance and dismissiveness.

observerBG Mia Williams , January 12, 2018 11:36 AM

This is not what recent US media says on ths topic.

"the collection shows that top officials from the U.S., Germany and the U.K. all offered assurances to Gorbachev and Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze that NATO would not expand toward the Russian borders. The documents make clear that the Western politicians meant no expansion to Eastern European countries, not just the East German territory."

https://www.bloomberg.com/v...

http://nationalinterest.org...

http://beta.latimes.com/opi...

http://www.theamericanconse...

The context here is about NATO expansion in Eastern Europe, to the east of Germany, whether the new (former soviet) states existed or not.
Large parts of EE were never part of the USSR.

"Lastly, I reject the popular notion in some circles that all who align
themselves with Russia do so out of free will but those who align
themselves with the U.S. and the West must be corrupt or coorced. I
believe such ideas ring of arrogance and dismissiveness."

Thanks for the straw man, but i did not say that.

About this, i will say several things. First, there are no bigger and more sophisticated liars than western elites. They are specialists in hiding and masking their interests behind "freedom", "democracy" and "human rights". The russians are more direct and directly talk about russian interests, economic gains, "the fate of our people in this or that country", etc.

Second, if you look at russian foreign policy docs and statements you will notice that russians embrace multipolarity and significantly lower level of interference in other peoples affairs. Specifically, the russians do not try to impose their "system", or developmental model, or culturo-religious model on other countries. After the fall of communism, Russia no longer believes that it should impose its "model" or "system" on other countries, and it does not believe that such an attempt could work either. So Russia accepts the cultural and developmental differences and diversity in the different countries of the world, and does not try to remake it in its own image, or push for "one size fits all" models. For example Russia does not believe that its own "state capitalism" should be imposed everywhere, the way the US believes that its own neo-liberal capitalism should be imposed everywhere.

In comparison, the West and especially the US is messianic and self-obsessed, with strong belief in its own superiority and maniacal desire to impose its own cultural and economic models on everyone else, whether they like it, or not. It thus believes that it "knows better" than anyone else, and therefore should rule the world "for its own good".

In other words the US interferes everywhere and sees the whole world as its playground and even property, something that it can change or remake the way it sees fit. Its like someone who wants to make decisions instead of you "for your own good", which implies that everyone else is mentally inferior to the US, that the whole world is in custody of the US "parent", who knows "better" than anyone else. It becomes crazed and obsessed if its model and culture are rejected by someone, as if that fatally weakens its confidence in itself.

In comparison, the russians are much more direct that things are about pure interests, and are also not interested in interfering at the level or scope the US does. They do not want to remake Poland, Britain, Korea or Iraq in their own image and are ok with whatever culture or economic model these people have. Russia has several military bases abroad in comparison to 700 bases for the US, and that tells you what is going on. Russia can also interfere sometimes, but for far more practical (and real) reasons, mostly in their neighbours, with the aim of ensuring its own security (anti-terrorism), or for making sure that NATO military can not be deployed en masse near its borders. There can be also some economic interference (gas disputes) or attempts to protect russian minorities abroad. But russian interference does not come close to the level of the US one, or the scope of the US one, and certainly does not include messianic dreams about remaking the whole world in its own image, and Russia definitely does not see the world as its playground. The russian embrace of multipolarity means that Russia accepts that there will be countries with vastly different cultures, economic and developmental models, even very different than the russian one, that there will be many powers, and that Russia can not impose its views on the rest of the planet.

John Tosh , January 11, 2018 3:51 PM

The attack on Russian airbase in Syria is a sign that the Central Intelligence Agency is sleepwalking into 3rd world war

For the CIA's information at the start of WW3, the CIA will be nuked since everyone knows it is the brain and actor for the entire Western group of criminals.

CIA you will be nuked. Those CIA agents who survived will be hunted down in different countries like the dogs they are. Many CIA superior officers will sell out their boses and subordinates to survive at the end there would be no more CIA. Just like the NAZIs.

QE ornotQE John Tosh , January 12, 2018 7:38 AM

Look up DUMBs and YouTube a guy called Phil Schneider. The elites (including the CIA) will be as safe and secure as possible in the event of a nuclear war.

Tommy Jensen , January 11, 2018 12:05 PM

Russia was not betrayed by USA. Russia was letting themselves willingly being betrayed, this is a big difference. The Russians were shining all over their faces, dreaming, hoping to become Europeans, and getting coca-cola, friendships, scolarships and dollars from the Americans...............LOL.
The Russians loved to be betrayed man, you loved it man................LOL.

Peter Paul 1950 Tommy Jensen , January 11, 2018 12:26 PM

If you really believe your words then they just reveal that you have an underdeveloped character and lack of empathy towards your own self ... and towards others ... and an even larger deficit in history ... the uprising in Russia 1991 and tanks shooting holes in the White House in Moscow were absolutely not about becoming Europeans or the want of Coca Cola and Big Macs that were then introduced and made available thanks to Yeltsin ... a US puppet ... you love nothing Tommy ... and you are LOLing yourself in an illusion if you try making others believe anybody would love to be betrayed ...

AM Hants Peter Paul 1950 , January 11, 2018 1:02 PM

I have got a project for you, if interested. Andrew came up with a wonderful idea for one of your images. A pyramid, of 'yes' men/women, with their noses firmly embedded in the butts of those above them. If you fancy some artwork, public friendly and nothing that would frighten us, or get you banned, I will leave it to you.

You can even use these characters and their friends that arrived in 2017.

[Jan 02, 2018] Another strong suggestion that Gorbachov was traitor not just a person who lost control of the events he himself initiated

Notable quotes:
"... [Choose a single Handle and stick to it, or else use Anonymous/Anon. Otherwise, your comments may be trashed.] ..."
Jan 02, 2018 | www.unz.com

pet , December 30, 2017 at 3:33 am GMT

[Choose a single Handle and stick to it, or else use Anonymous/Anon. Otherwise, your comments may be trashed.]

For such an uncritical defender of everything Russian, Mr. Saker would be well advised to undertake an objective analysis of the Russian policies and actions from the time of Gorbachev to the current time in order to look for the true causes of the dismal geo-strategic position of Russia today, instead of blaming it all on western "partners" only. I'm sure he would be able to find a plenty of strategic mistakes done by the Russian leadership including Putin, during more than 3 decades, some of them result of naked ignorance and others result of pure stupidity.

He would also have to touch on the issue of the "despotic" nature of the Russian state whereby one man, whether able or not, decides about everything while everyone else applauds.

Some suggested points for the analysis: betrayal and hand-over of East Germany against its will, dissolution of Warsaw Pact without any paperwork (parallel dissolution of NATO was very much discussed at the time but Russians didn't even ask for it), dissolution of the USSR absolutely contrary to the interests of Russian people, destruction of "Mir" station, betrayal of Serbia, Cuba, siding with "partners" on Iran, Libya, North Korea etc., giving up on Vietnam and many Soviet friends and allies all over the world, half-hearted "intervention" in Georgia, loss of Ukraine due to negligence, occasional mistreatment of Belarus for its refusal to sell out to Russian oligarchs, total lack of care for the Russians stranded all over former Soviet space etc. etc.

All theses things add up leading to where we are today. (I'm not even touching upon the state of affairs inside Russia regarding corruption, salaries, oligarchs, social justice and many others).

El Dato , December 30, 2017 at 3:32 pm GMT
@pet

destruction of "Mir" station

Woah slow down there. It was a piece of aging junk, had already had fire aboard, had nonfunctional solar panels, the computers were fritzing out, mold was growing in the isolation. The ISS, formerly Space Station Freedom, formerly Space Station Alpha, was taking shape. Time to dump that assemblage of canisters.

Far more important is to have a heavy launcher like the Energia so you can launch it again and service it. Well, that doesn't exist either now. SAD!

Have some old school space dreaming instead:

Red Star, Winter Orbit (1983), Text .

I still prefer Hinterlands (1981). Text .

We had really settled in for Soviet Union forever. Amazing.

[Dec 25, 2017] The Duran recommends using WP Engine

Dec 25, 2017 | shareasale.com

Until now, apologists for the U.S.-Government side have been able to get away with various lies about these lies, such as that there weren't any, and that Gorbachev didn't really think that the NATO issue was terribly important for Russia's future national security anyway, and that the only limitation upon NATO's future expansion that was discussed during the negotiations to end the Cold War concerned NATO not expanding itself eastward (i.e., closer to Russia) within Germany, not going beyond the then-existing dividing-line between West and East Germany -- that no restriction against other east-bloc (Soviet-allied) nations ever being admitted into NATO was discussed, at all. The now-standard U.S. excuse that the deal concerned only Germany and not all of Europe is now conclusively disproven by the biggest single data-dump ever released about those negotiations.

This release on December 10th, by the National Security Archives, of a treasure-trove of all the existing documentation -- 33 key documents -- that's been made available to them from numerous archives around the world, and brought together finally for the very first time complete and in chronological order, makes crystal clear that the American apologists' lies about the lies WERE lies, not accurate accounts of the history, at all.

The assemblers at the National Security Archives assume that the numerous and repeated false promises that were made by Bush's team were mistakes, instead of as what they so clearly were (but you'll judge it here for yourself): strategic lies that were essential to Bush's goal of America ultimately conquering a future isolated Russia that would then have little-to-no foreign allies, and all of whose then-existing-as-Soviet allied nations within the Soviet Union itself, and beyond, including all of its former Warsaw Pact allies, would have become ultimately swallowed up by the U.S.-NATO bloc, which then would be able to dictate, to a finally alone nation of Russia, terms of Russia's ultimate surrender to the U.S. That view (which the National Security Archives documents to be clearly true, even as it denies it and says that only Bill Clinton and subsequent Presidents were to blame) is now exposed irrefutably to have been the U.S. plan ever since GHW Bush's Presidency.

In other words: This release of documents about the turning-point, provides capstone evidence that the U.S. never really had been in the Cold War against communism; the U.S. was instead aiming ultimately to be the imperial nation, controlling the entire planet. For America's Deep State, or what President Eisenhower famously warned about as the "military-industrial complex," the Cold War was actually about empire, and about conquest, not really about ideology at all. This also had been shown, for example, by America's having assisted so many 'former' Nazis to escape and come to America and to be paid now by the U.S. Government. After World War II, the top level of the U.S. power-structure became increasingly taken over by the military-industrial complex, America's Deep State, so that increasingly the U.S. Government is in a condition of "perpetual war for perpetual peace" -- a warfare state and economy: fascism.

Start your own website here >>

Here, then, are highlights from this historic data-dump, presented in chronological order, just as in the release itself, and with a minimum of added commentary from myself [placed in brackets], but all stripping away here the dross of accompanying inconsequentials, and leaving only the golden steady core of stunningly successful American deceit of Russia. These are those highlights, from the December 10th data-dump, which the National Security Archives headlined " NATO Expansion: What Gorbachev Heard " and sub-headed "Declassified documents show security assurances against NATO expansion to Soviet leaders from Baker, Bush, Genscher, Kohl, Gates, Mitterrand, Thatcher, Hurd, Major, and Woerner," so that the swindlers (or as the National Security Archive view them as having instead been blunderers) can become immediately recognized and known.

All of these documents pertain to negotiations that occurred throughout the month of February 1990, and a few relate also to the immediate aftermath. That's the crucial period, when the geostrategic reality of today (which all the world now know to be a continuation of the Cold War, but this time against only Russia, and not against the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact) was actually created.

At the negotiations' start, West Germany's Chancellor Helmut Kohl's agent, Germany's Foreign Minister, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, stated publicly to the whole world, West Germany's initial offer to the Soviet Union's President Mikhail Gorbachev, and this offer did not include a simultaneous termination of both military alliances -- the Soviets' Warsaw Pact and America's NATO -- but instead only a promise that NATO would never absorb any additional territory, especially to the east of West Germany (and this publicly made promise was never kept). So: right from the get-go, there was no actual termination of the Cold War that was being proposed by the U.S. group, but only an arrangement that wouldn't threaten Russia more than the then-existing split Germany did (and yet even that promise turned out to have been a lie):

Document 01
U.S. Embassy Bonn Confidential Cable to Secretary of State on the speech of the German Foreign Minister: Genscher Outlines His Vision of a New European Architecture.
1990-02-01
Source: U.S. Department of State. FOIA Reading Room. Case F-2015 10829

"This U.S. Embassy Bonn cable reporting back to Washington details both of Hans-Dietrich Genscher's proposals – that NATO would not expand to the east, and that the former territory of the GDR in a unified Germany would be treated differently from other NATO territory."

Document 02
Mr. Hurd to Sir C. Mallaby (Bonn). Telegraphic N. 85: Secretary of State's Call on Herr Genscher: German Unification.
1990-02-06
Source: Documents on British Policy Overseas, series III, volume VII: German Unification, 1989-1990.

"The U.S. State Department's subsequent view of the German unification negotiations, expressed in a 1996 cable sent to all posts, mistakenly asserts that the entire negotiation over the future of Germany limited its discussion of the future of NATO to the specific arrangements over the territory of the former GDR." [The National Security Archives' calling that Bill-Clinton-era State Department cable 'mistaken' is unsupported by, and even contradicted by, the evidence they actually present from the February 1990 negotiations.]

Document 03
Memorandum from Paul H. Nitze to George H.W. Bush about "Forum for Germany" meeting in Berlin.
1990-02-06
Source: George H. W. Bush Presidential Library

"This concise note to President Bush from one of the Cold War's architects, Paul Nitze (based at his namesake Johns Hopkins University School of International Studies), captures the debate over the future of NATO in early 1990. Nitze relates that Central and Eastern European leaders attending the 'Forum for Germany' conference in Berlin were advocating the dissolution of both the superpower blocs, NATO and the Warsaw Pact, until he (and a few western Europeans) turned around that view and instead emphasized the importance of NATO as the basis of stability and U.S. presence in Europe."

Document 04
Memorandum of Conversation between James Baker and Eduard Shevardnadze in Moscow.
1990-02-09
Source: U.S. Department of State, FOIA 199504567 (National Security Archive Flashpoints Collection, Box 38)

"Baker tells the Soviet foreign minister, 'A neutral Germany would undoubtedly acquire its own independent nuclear capability. However, a Germany that is firmly anchored in a changed NATO, by that I mean a NATO that is far less of [a] military organization, much more of a political one, would have no need for independent capability. There would, of course, have to be iron-clad guarantees that NATO's jurisdiction or forces would not move eastward.'"

Document 05
Memorandum of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and James Baker in Moscow.
1990-02-09
Source: U.S. Department of State, FOIA 199504567 (National Security Archive Flashpoints Collection, Box 38)

"Even with (unjustified) redactions by U.S. classification officers, this American transcript of perhaps the most famous U.S. assurance to the Soviets on NATO expansion confirms the Soviet transcript of the same conversation. Repeating what Bush said at the Malta summit in December 1989, Baker tells Gorbachev: 'The President and I have made clear that we seek no unilateral advantage in this process' of inevitable German unification. Baker goes on to say, 'We understand the need for assurances to the countries in the East. If we maintain a presence in a Germany that is a part of NATO, there would be no extension of NATO's jurisdiction for forces of NATO one inch to the east.'"

Document 06
Record of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and James Baker in Moscow. (Excerpts)
1990-02-09
Source: Gorbachev Foundation Archive, Fond 1, Opis 1.

"The key exchange takes place when Baker asks whether Gorbachev would prefer 'a united Germany outside of NATO, absolutely independent and without American troops; or a united Germany keeping its connections with NATO, but with the guarantee that NATO's jurisdiction or troops will not spread east of the present boundary.' Turning to German unification, Baker assures Gorbachev that 'neither the president nor I intend to extract any unilateral advantages from the processes that are taking place,' and that the Americans understand the importance for the USSR and Europe of guarantees that 'not an inch of NATO's present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction.'"

Document 07
Memorandum of conversation between Robert Gates and Vladimir Kryuchkov in Moscow.
1990-02-09
Source: George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, NSC Scowcroft Files, Box 91128, Folder "Gorbachev (Dobrynin) Sensitive."

"This conversation is especially important because subsequent researchers have speculated that Secretary Baker may have been speaking beyond his brief in his 'not one inch eastward' conversation with Gorbachev. Robert Gates, the former top CIA intelligence analyst and a specialist on the USSR, here tells his kind-of-counterpart, the head of the KGB, in his office at the Lubyanka KGB headquarters, exactly what Baker told Gorbachev that day at the Kremlin: not one inch eastward. At that point, Gates was the top deputy to the president's national security adviser, Gen. Brent Scowcroft, so this document speaks to a coordinated approach by the U.S. government to Gorbachev."

Document 08
Letter from James Baker to Helmut Kohl
1990-02-10
Source: Deutsche Enheit Sonderedition und den Akten des Budeskanzleramtes 1989/90

"Baker especially remarks on Gorbachev's noncommittal response to the question about a neutral Germany versus a NATO Germany with pledges against eastward expansion."

Document 09
Memorandum of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and Helmut Kohl
1990-02-10
Source: Mikhail Gorbachev i germanskii vopros, edited by Alexander Galkin and Anatoly Chernyaev, (Moscow: Ves Mir, 2006)

"Prepared by Baker's letter and his own foreign minister's Tutzing formula, Kohl early in the conversation assures Gorbachev, 'We believe that NATO should not expand the sphere of its activity. We have to find a reasonable resolution. I correctly understand the security interests of the Soviet Union, and I realize that you, Mr. General Secretary, and the Soviet leadership will have to clearly explain what is happening to the Soviet people.' Later the two leaders tussle about NATO and the Warsaw Pact, with Gorbachev commenting, 'They say what is NATO without the FRG. But we could also ask: What is the WTO without the GDR?' When Kohl disagrees, Gorbachev calls merely for 'reasonable solutions that do not poison the atmosphere in our relations' and says this part of the conversation should not be made public."

Document 10-1
Teimuraz Stepanov-Mamaladze notes from Conference on Open Skies, Ottawa, Canada.
1990-02-12
Source: Hoover Institution Archive, Stepanov-Mamaladze Collection.

"Notes from the first days of the conference are very brief, but they contain one important line that shows that Baker offered the same assurance formula in Ottawa as he did in Moscow: 'And if U[nited] G[ermany] stays in NATO, we should take care about nonexpansion of its jurisdiction to the East.'"

Document 10-2
Teimuraz Stepanov-Mamaladze diary, February 12, 1990.
1990-02-12
Source: Hoover Institution Archive, Stepanov-Mamaladze Collection.

"This diary entry is evidence, from a critical perspective, that the United States and West Germany did give Moscow concrete assurances about keeping NATO to its current size and scope. In fact, the diary further indicates that at least in Shevardnadze's view those assurances amounted to a deal – which Gorbachev accepted."

Document 10-3
Teimuraz Stepanov-Mamaladze diary, February 13, 1990.
1990-02-13
Source: Hoover Institution Archive, Stepanov-Mamaladze Collection.

"Stepanov-Mamaladze describes difficult negotiations about the exact wording on the joint statement. 'During the day, active games were taking place between all of them. E.A. [Shevardnadze] met with Baker five times, twice with Genscher, talked with Fischer [GDR foreign minister], Dumas [French foreign minister], and the ministers of the ATS countries,' and finally, the text of the settlement was settled."

Document 11
U.S. State Department, "Two Plus Four: Advantages, Possible Concerns and Rebuttal Points."
1990-02-21
Source: State Department FOIA release, National Security Archive Flashpoints Collection, Box 38.

"The American fear was that the West Germans would make their own deal with Moscow for rapid unification, giving up some of the bottom lines for the U.S., mainly membership in NATO."

Document 12-1
Memorandum of conversation between Vaclav Havel and George Bush in Washington.
1990-02-20
Source:
George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, Memcons and Telcons ( https://bush41library.tamu.edu/ )

"Bush took the opportunity to lecture the Czech leader about the value of NATO and its essential role as the basis for the U.S. presence in Europe."

Document 12-2
Memorandum of conversation between Vaclav Havel and George Bush in Washington.
1990-02-21
Source:
George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, Memcons and Telcons ( https://bush41library.tamu.edu/ )

"Bush's request to Havel to pass the message to Gorbachev that the Americans support him personally, and that 'We will not conduct ourselves in the wrong way by saying "we win, you lose." Emphasizing the point, Bush says, 'tell Gorbachev that I asked you to tell Gorbachev that we will not conduct ourselves regarding Czechoslovakia or any other country in a way that would complicate the problems he has so frankly discussed with me.' The Czechoslovak leader adds his own caution to the Americans about how to proceed with the unification of Germany and address Soviet insecurities. Havel remarks to Bush, 'It is a question of prestige.'"

[I think that Havel was deceived to believe that "prestige" was the issue here. This is what the U.S. team wanted the Soviet team to think was the U.S. team's chief motivation for wanting NATO to continue. But subsequent historical events, especially the U.S. team's proceeding under President Bill Clinton and up through Donald Trump to expand NATO to include, by now, virtually all of the Warsaw Pact and of the Soviet Union itself except for Russia, in NATO, proves that U.S. aggression against Russia has been the U.S. aim from the start, and the U.S. Government has been working assiduously at this plan for ultimate conquest. I think that Havel's use there of the word "prestige" was very revealing of the total snookering of Gorbachev that Bush achieved. Gorbachev and his team trusted the U.S. side. Russia has paid dearly for that. If the U.S. side continues and NATO isn't voluntarily terminated by the U.S. Government, then WW III will be the inevitable result. NATO will end either after the 'conquest' of Russia or before that WW-III 'conquest' (likelier to be actually destruction of the entire world) even happens. The world, today, will decide which. NATO should have ended in 1991, when the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact did.]

Document 13
Memorandum of Conversation between Helmut Kohl and George Bush at Camp David.
1990-02-24
Source:
George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, Memcons and Telcons ( https://bush41library.tamu.edu /)

"The Bush administration's main worry about German unification as the process accelerated in February 1990 was that the West Germans might make their own deal bilaterally with the Soviets (see Document 11) and might be willing to bargain away NATO membership. The German chancellor arrives at Camp David without [West German Foreign Minister] Genscher because the latter does not entirely share the Bush-Kohl position on full German membership in NATO, and he recently angered both leaders by speaking publicly about the CSCE as the future European security mechanism.[11] Bush's priority is to keep the U.S. presence, especially the nuclear umbrella, in Europe: 'if U.S. nuclear forces are withdrawn from Germany, I don't see how we can persuade any other ally on the continent to retain these weapons.' [Bush wanted Lockheed and other U.S. weapons-makers to continue booming after the Cold War 'ended' -- not for the nuclear-weapons market to end. Bush continued:] 'We have weird thinking in our Congress today, ideas like this peace dividend. We can't do that in these uncertain times.' [For the U.S. team, 'perpetual war for perpetual peace' would be the way forward; a 'peace dividend' was the last thing they wanted -- ever.] At one point in the conversation, Bush seems to view his Soviet counterpart not as a partner but as a defeated enemy. Referring to talk in some Soviet quarters against Germany staying in NATO, he says: 'To hell with that. We prevailed and they didn't. We cannot let the Soviets clutch victory from the jaws of defeat.'" [I earlier had placed that crucial secret statement from Bush into historical perspective, under the headline, " How America Double-Crossed Russia and Shamed the West ".]

Document 14
Memorandum of conversation between George Bush and Eduard Shevardnadze in Washington.
1990-04-06
Source:
George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, Memcons and Telcons ( https://bush41library.tamu.edu/ )

"Shevardnadze mentions the upcoming CSCE summit and the Soviet expectation that it will discuss the new European security structures. Bush does not contradict this but ties it to the issues of the U.S. presence in Europe and German unification in NATO. He declares that he wants to 'contribute to stability and to the creation of a Europe whole and free, or as you call it, a common European home. A[n] idea that is very close to our own.' The Soviets -- wrongly -- interpret this as a declaration that the U.S. administration shares Gorbachev's idea."

Document 15
Sir R. Braithwaite (Moscow). Telegraphic N. 667: "Secretary of State's Meeting with President Gorbachev."
1990-04-11
Source: Documents on British Policy Overseas, series III, volume VII: German Unification, 1989-1990. (Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

"Ambassador Braithwaite's telegram summarizes the meeting between Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Douglas Hurd and President Gorbachev, noting Gorbachev's 'expansive mood.' Gorbachev asks the secretary to pass his appreciation for Margaret Thatcher's letter to him after her summit with Kohl, at which, according to Gorbachev, she followed the lines of policy Gorbachev and Thatcher discussed in their recent phone call, on the basis of which the Soviet leader concluded that 'the British and Soviet positions were very close indeed.'"

Document 16
Valentin Falin Memorandum to Mikhail Gorbachev (Excerpts)
1990-04-18
Source: Mikhail Gorbachev i germanskii vopros, edited by Alexander Galkin and Anatoly Chernyaev, (Moscow: Ves Mir, 2006)

"This memorandum from the Central Committee's most senior expert on Germany sounds like a wake-up call for Gorbachev. Falin puts it in blunt terms: while Soviet European policy has fallen into inactivity and even 'depression after the March 18 elections in East Germany, and Gorbachev himself has let Kohl speed up the process of unification, his compromises on Germany in NATO can only lead to the slipping away of his main goal for Europe – the common European home. 'Summing up the past six months, one has to conclude that the "common European home," which used to be a concrete task the countries of the continent were starting to implement, is now turning into a mirage.' While the West is sweet-talking Gorbachev into accepting German unification in NATO, Falin notes (correctly) that 'the Western states are already violating the consensus principle by making preliminary agreements among themselves' regarding German unification and the future of Europe that do not include a 'long phase of constructive development.' He notes the West's 'intensive cultivation of not only NATO but also our Warsaw Pact allies' with the goal to isolate the USSR. He also suggests using arms control negotiations in Vienna and Geneva as leverage if the West keeps taking advantage of Soviet flexibility. The main idea of the memo is to warn Gorbachev not to be naive about the intentions of his American partners: 'The West is outplaying us, promising to respect the interests of the USSR, but in practice, step by step, separating us from "traditional Europe".'"

Document 17
James A. Baker III, Memorandum for the President, "My meeting with Shevardnadze."
1990-05-04
Source: George H. W. Bush Presidential Library, NSC Scowcroft Files, Box 91126, Folder "Gorbachev (Dobrynin) Sensitive 1989 – June 1990 [3]"

"Baker reports, 'I also used your speech and our recognition of the need to adapt NATO, politically and militarily, and to develop CSCE to reassure Shevardnadze that the process would not yield winners and losers. Instead, it would produce a new legitimate European structure – one that would be inclusive, not exclusive.'"

Document 18
Record of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and James Baker in Moscow.
1990-05-18
Source: Gorbachev Foundation Archive, Fond 1

"When Gorbachev mentions the need to build new security structures to replace the blocs, Baker lets slip a personal reaction that reveals much about the real U.S. position on the subject: 'It's nice to talk about pan-European security structures, the role of the CSCE. It is a wonderful dream, but just a dream. In the meantime, NATO exists. ' Gorbachev suggests that if the U.S. side insists on Germany in NATO, then he would 'announce publicly that we want to join NATO too.' Shevardnadze goes further, offering a prophetic observation: 'if united Germany becomes a member of NATO, it will blow up perestroika. Our people will not forgive us. People will say that we ended up the losers, not the winners.'"

Document 19
Record of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and Francois Mitterrand (excerpts).
1990-05-25
Source: Mikhail Gorbachev i germanskii vopros

"[Miterrand] implies that NATO is not the key issue now and could be drowned out in further negotiations; rather, the important thing is to ensure Soviet participation in new European security system. He repeats that he is 'personally in favor of gradually dismantling the military blocs.' Gorbachev expresses his wariness and suspicion about U.S. effort to 'perpetuate NATO'." [This was extraordinary documentation that the U.S. team had deceived Gorbachev to think that they were trying to suggest to him that both military alliances -- NATO and Warsaw Pact -- would be ended, but that Gorbachev was "wary" and "suspicious" that maybe they didn't really mean it. Stunning.]

Document 20
Letter from Francois Mitterrand to George Bush
1990-05-25
Source: George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, NSC Scowcroft Files

True to his word, Mitterrand writes a letter to George Bush describing Gorbachev's predicament on the issue of German unification in NATO, calling it genuine, not 'fake or tactical.' He warns the American president against doing it as a fait accompli without Gorbachev's consent implying that Gorbachev might retaliate on arms control (exactly what Mitterrand himself – and Falin earlier – suggested in his conversation). Mitterrand argues in favor of a formal 'peace settlement in International law,' and informs Bush that in his conversation with Gorbachev he "'indicated that, on the Western side, we would certainly not refuse to detail the guarantees that he would have a right to expect for his country's security.'"

Document 21
Record of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and George Bush. White House, Washington D.C.
1990-05-31
Source: Gorbachev Foundation Archive, Moscow, Fond 1, opis 1.[12]

"Baker repeats the nine assurances made previously by the administration, including that the United States now agrees to support the pan-European process and transformation of NATO in order to remove the Soviet perception of threat. Gorbachev's preferred position is Germany with one foot in both NATO and the Warsaw Pact -- the 'two anchors' -- creating a kind of associated membership. Baker intervenes, saying that 'the simultaneous obligations of one and the same country toward the WTO and NATO smack of schizophrenia.' After the U.S. president frames the issue in the context of the Helsinki agreement, Gorbachev proposes that the German people have the right to choose their alliance -- which he in essence already affirmed to Kohl during their meeting in February 1990. Here, Gorbachev significantly exceeds his brief, and incurs the ire of other members of his delegation, especially the official with the German portfolio, Valentin Falin, and Marshal Sergey Akhromeyev. Gorbachev issues a key warning about the future: 'If the Soviet people get an impression that we are disregarded in the German question, then all the positive processes in Europe, including the negotiations in Vienna [over conventional forces], would be in serious danger. This is not just bluffing. It is simply that the people will force us to stop and to look around.' It is a remarkable admission about domestic political pressures from the last Soviet leader."

Document 22
Letter from Mr. Powell (N. 10) to Mr. Wall: Thatcher-Gorbachev memorandum of conversation.
1990-06-08
Source: Documents on British Policy Overseas, series III, volume VII: German Unification, 1989-1990. (Foreign and Commonwealth Office

"Gorbachev says he wants to 'be completely frank with the Prime Minister' that if the processes were to become one-sided, 'there could be a very difficult situation [and the] Soviet Union would feel its security in jeopardy.' Thatcher responds firmly that it was in nobody's interest to put Soviet security in jeopardy: 'we must find ways to give the Soviet Union confidence that its security would be assured.'"

Document 23
Record of Conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and Helmut Kohl, Moscow (Excerpts).
1990-07-15
Source: Mikhail Gorbachev i germanskii vopros

"This key conversation between Chancellor Kohl and President Gorbachev sets the final parameters for German unification. Kohl talks repeatedly about the new era of relations between a united Germany and the Soviet Union, and how this relationship would contribute to European stability and security. Gorbachev demands assurances on non-expansion of NATO: 'We must talk about the nonproliferation of NATO military structures to the territory of the GDR, and maintaining Soviet troops there for a certain transition period.' The Soviet leader notes earlier in the conversation that NATO has already begun transforming itself. For him, the pledge of NATO non-expansion to the territory of the GDR in spirit means that NATO would not take advantage of the Soviet willingness to compromise on Germany."

[Of course, Gorbachev never knew that Bush had instructed his agents, on the night of 24 February 1990, "To hell with that. We prevailed and they didn't. We cannot let the Soviets clutch victory from the jaws of defeat," indicating that for the U.S. aristocracy, conquest of an isolated Russia was the actual ultimate aim -- there would be no actual end of the Cold War until the U.S. would conquer Russia itself -- grab the whole thing. Gorbachev was, it is now absolutely undeniable, conned.]

Document 24
Memorandum of Telephone Conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and George Bush
1990-07-17
Source: George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, Memcons and Telcons (( https://bush41library.tamu.edu/ )

"In this phone call, Bush expands on Kohl's security assurances and reinforces the message from the London Declaration: 'So what we tried to do was to take account of your concerns expressed to me and others, and we did it in the following ways: by our joint declaration on non-aggression; in our invitation to you to come to NATO; in our agreement to open NATO to regular diplomatic contact with your government and those of the Eastern European countries; and our offer on assurances on the future size of the armed forces of a united Germany – an issue I know you discussed with Helmut Kohl. We also fundamentally changed our military approach on conventional and nuclear forces. We conveyed the idea of an expanded, stronger CSCE with new institutions in which the USSR can share and be part of the new Europe.'"

Document 25
September 12 Two-Plus-Four Ministerial in Moscow: Detailed account [includes text of the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany and Agreed Minute to the Treaty on the special military status of the GDR after unification]
1990-11-02
Source: George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, NSC Condoleezza Rice Files

"the agreed text of the final treaty on German unification. The treaty codified what Bush had earlier offered to Gorbachev – 'special military status' for the former GDR territory. At the last minute, British and American concerns that the language would restrict emergency NATO troop movements there forced the inclusion of a 'minute' that left it up to the newly unified and sovereign Germany what the meaning of the word 'deployed' should be. Kohl had committed to Gorbachev that only German NATO troops would be allowed on that territory after the Soviets left, and Germany stuck to that commitment, even though the 'minute' was meant to allow other NATO troops to traverse or exercise there at least temporarily. Subsequently, Gorbachev aides such as Pavel Palazhshenko would point to the treaty language to argue that NATO expansion violated the 'spirit' of this Final Settlement treaty."

[Obviously, now, it was no "Final Settlement" at all.]

Document 26
U.S. Department of State, European Bureau: Revised NATO Strategy Paper for Discussion at Sub-Ungroup Meeting
1990-10-22
Source: George H. W. Bush Presidential Library, NSC Heather Wilson Files,

"Joint Chiefs and other agencies, posits that '[a] potential Soviet threat remains and constitutes one basic justification for the continuance of NATO.' At the same time, in the discussion of potential East European membership in NATO, the review suggests that 'In the current environment, it is not in the best interest of NATO or of the U.S. that these states be granted full NATO membership and its security guarantees.' The United States does not 'wish to organize an anti-Soviet coalition whose frontier is the Soviet border' – not least because of the negative impact this might have on reforms in the USSR. NATO liaison offices would do for the present time, the group concluded, but the relationship will develop in the future. In the absence of the Cold War confrontation, NATO 'out of area' functions will have to be redefined." [Clearly, they wanted the revolving door to land them in high-paid positions supported by U.S. weapons-making corporations, not just in retirements with only military pensions. Or else, they just loved war and, like Bush, didn't want there to be any "peace dividend."]

Document 27
James F. Dobbins, State Department European Bureau, Memorandum to National Security Council: NATO Strategy Review Paper for October 29 Discussion.
1990-10-25
Source: George H. W. Bush Presidential Library: NSC Philip Zelikow Files

"This concise memorandum comes from the State Department's European Bureau as a cover note for briefing papers for a scheduled October 29, 1990 meeting on the issues of NATO expansion and European defense cooperation with NATO. Most important is the document's summary of the internal debate within the Bush administration, primarily between the Defense Department (specifically the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney) and the State Department. On the issue of NATO expansion, OSD 'wishes to leave the door ajar' while State 'prefers simply to note that discussion of expanding membership is not on the agenda .' The Bush administration effectively adopts State's view in its public statements, yet the Defense view would prevail in the next administration."

[This allegation, by the National Security Archives, fundamentally misrepresents, by its underlying assumption that the Bush Administration's statements such as that NATO would move "not one inch to the east" weren't lies but instead reflected Bush's actual intention. They ignore altogether Bush's having secretly told his vassals on the crucial night of 24 February 1990, "To hell with that. We prevailed and they didn't. We cannot let the Soviets clutch victory from the jaws of defeat." Gorbachev believed that this was to be a win-win game; but, the U.S. side were now under secret instructions that it's to be purely more of the win-lose game, and that now a lone Russia would end up being its ultimate loser. The despicable statement by the National Security Archives, "yet the Defense view would prevail in the next administration," presumes that it didn't actually already 'prevail' in the Bush Administration itself. It prevailed actually in George Herbert Walker Bush himself, and not only in his Defense Department. Bush brilliantly took advantage of Gorbachev's decency and expectation that Bush, like himself, was decent. Bush lied -- and his team and their successors ever since have been carrying out his vicious plan. The National Security Archives downplays to insignificance Bush's crucial instruction to his people, "To hell with that. We prevailed and they didn't. We cannot let the Soviets clutch victory from the jaws of defeat." That statement, at that crucial moment, is what enables us to understand what was actually going on throughout these negotiations. The Archives' blaming only Bill Clinton and the other Presidents after Bush is a despicable lie. And it wasn't just "the Defense view" -- Cheney -- who prevailed within the Bush Administration there. Cheney, like Baker, were doing what GHW Bush had hired them to do. Baker's job was to lie. If it weren't, then he'd have told Gorbachev the next day not to trust what the Bush team were saying, but instead to demand everything to be put in writing in the final document, and to assume the worst regarding anything that the Bush team were refusing to put in writing in the final document. Baker was a lawyer, and a very skilled liar, who was just doing his job for Bush. For some inexplicable reason, the National Security Archives simply assumes otherwise.]

Document 28
Ambassador Rodric Braithwaite diary, 05 March 1991
1991-03-05
Source: Rodric Braithwaite personal diary

"British Ambassador Rodric Braithwaite was present for a number of the assurances given to Soviet leaders in 1990 and 1991 about NATO expansion. Here, Braithwaite in his diary describes a meeting between British Prime Minister John Major and Soviet military officials, led by Minister of Defense Marshal Dmitry Yazov. The meeting took place during Major's visit to Moscow and right after his one-on-one with President Gorbachev. During the meeting with Major, Gorbachev had raised his concerns about the new NATO dynamics: 'Against the background of favorable processes in Europe, I suddenly start receiving information that certain circles intend to go on further strengthening NATO as the main security instrument in Europe. Previously they talked about changing the nature of NATO, about transformation of the existing military-political blocs into pan-European structures and security mechanisms. And now suddenly again [they are talking about] a special peace-keeping role of NATO. They are talking again about NATO as the cornerstone. This does not sound complementary to the common European home that we have started to build.' Major responded: 'I believe that your thoughts about the role of NATO in the current situation are the result of misunderstanding. We are not talking about strengthening of NATO.'"

Document 29
Paul Wolfowitz Memoranda of Conversation with Vaclav Havel and Lubos Dobrovsky in Prague.
1991-04-27
Source: U.S. Department of Defense, FOIA release 2016

"These memcons from April 1991 provide the bookends for the 'education of Vaclav Havel' on NATO (see Documents 12-1 and 12-2 above). U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz included these memcons in his report to the NSC and the State Department about his attendance at a conference in Prague on 'The Future of European Security,' on April 24-27, 1991. During the conference Wolfowitz had separate meetings with Havel and Minister of Defense Dobrovsky. In the conversation with Havel, Wolfowitz thanks him for his statements about the importance of NATO and US troops in Europe. In conversation with Dobrovsky, Wolfowitz remarks that 'the very existence of NATO was in doubt a year ago.'"

Document 30
Memorandum to Boris Yeltsin from Russian Supreme Soviet delegation to NATO HQs
1991-07-01
Source: State Archive of the Russian Federation (GARF), Fond 10026, Opis 1

"This document is important for describing the clear message in 1991 from the highest levels of NATO – Secretary General Manfred Woerner – that NATO expansion was not happening . The audience was a Russian Supreme Soviet delegation, which in this memo was reporting back to Boris Yeltsin (who in June had been elected president of the Russian republic, largest in the Soviet Union), but no doubt Gorbachev and his aides were hearing the same assurance at that time. The emerging Russian security establishment was already worried about the possibility of NATO expansion, so in June 1991 this delegation visited Brussels to meet NATO's leadership, hear their views about the future of NATO, and share Russian concerns.

Woerner had given a well-regarded speech in Brussels in May 1990 in which he argued: 'The principal task of the next decade will be to build a new European security structure, to include the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact nations. The Soviet Union will have an important role to play in the construction of such a system. If you consider the current predicament of the Soviet Union, which has practically no allies left, then you can understand its justified wish not to be forced out of Europe.' Now in mid-1991, Woerner responds to the Russians by stating that he personally and the NATO Council are both against expansion -- '13 out of 16 NATO members share this point of view' -- and that he will speak against Poland's and Romania's membership in NATO to those countries' leaders as he has already done with leaders of Hungary and Czechoslovakia."

[Dec 22, 2017] When Washington Assured Russia NATO Would Not Expand by Andrew J. Bacevich

Notable quotes:
"... The problems now of USA in global politics in general, and with Russia in particular, was not the NATO expansion but the corrupted neoliberal economic model that the USA and the West imposed on themselves and Russia. Russia after Yeltsin and during the time V. Putin is in power limited the scope and the damage the neoliberal system was doing to the country, but the USA and the West continue on the same corrupted neoliberal path up until today. Another cause of the geopolitical problems the USA have now were and are the wars in the Middle East. ..."
"... If the US wants to ring Russia with bases why should't US taxpayers pay for it? DOD's budget is partly for imperial policing and partly a regional and corporate gravy train. It has some true "defense" functions but those are very limited. Why would Germans or the French want to pay extra taxes to protect themselves from a "threat" that if it even exists is because of aggressive American foreign policy? ..."
"... Bacevich nails it again. As a Cold War veteran I couldn't agree more. The United States didn't "win" the Cold War -- the USSR "lost" it, instead. Therein lays a huge difference. You don't kick a dog when he is down. The mindless expansion of NATO eastward following the demise of the USSR in 1991 was stupid–anyone who knows Russian history and geography is keenly aware of this fact. Putin, just like Trump, is trying to make his country great again. Surprise!!! ..."
"... Given Russia's history of being invaded from the West, with Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union being the bloodiest conflict in human history, it is remarkable to me that our government cannot understand why expanding NATO eastward would be viewed as very alarming to the Russians. ..."
"... American elites spend American treasure for their imperium, so that American elite interests take precedence, as per Nuland's "F -- the E.U." Confoundedly, Andy omits the Ukraine putsch she midwived. He who pays the piper calls the tune – and if a Europe still occupied by American forces as the continuation of WWII were to pay its own money, that military occupation would shortly end, just as the withdrawal of Soviet support ended their European satrapies' support of the Warsaw Pact. ..."
"... I was thinking the same thing as Sal. Almost the entire Elite Nomenklatura in Washington and Wall Street can be considered a collective "nasty piece of work" given all of the social and economic wreckage that they have produced both at home and abroad. Putin/Russia's excesses don't hold a candle to the catastrophes ginned up by that crew of arrogant militarists and corrupted parasites. ..."
"... Colonel Gaddafi believed the United States and refused to develop nuclear weapons. But leader of North Korea does not want to believe the USA. What do you think, why is this? ..."
"... These satrapies are offering the US forward deployment for military assets, possibly including first strike and decapitation weapons again – as Germany did before the reunification – as well as basing for missile defense systems that will eventually -- if they ever work -- complement these destabilizing weapon systems. They also provide bases without which US operations in the Middle East and the Mediterranean would be much more costly, if not difficult. These "privileges" come at substantial cost, as South Korea is in the process of recognizing. ..."
"... It should also be noted that US activities in Georgia and Ukraine preceded Putin's "act of transgression". It should further be noted that the Georgia conflict is very much an example of the erosion of international norms that Clinton and Kohl initiated in the Balkan conflict – which Russia explicitly warned the US about. ..."
"... It is completely unbelievable that the Soviets (after two invasions by Germany that killed about 27 million Soviets) would have just shrugged at the idea of NATO expanding to Poland let alone the Ukraine. The real question is why didn't Gorbachev insist on a written treaty. There was nothing in US history that should have made him expect honesty so why nothing in writing? I have no doubt he was lied to or manipulated but was he really that naive or incompetent to trust the US? ..."
"... Right after the collapse of the Soviet Union, I told my wife that, while the Soviets came in 'last' in the Cold War, the US came in second-to-last. I told her that Japan won the Cold War. The Soviets made tanks, the US made tanks and Japan made Nissans. My 1985 Nissan pickup truck still runs great and where are all the tanks today? Mind you, this was before the collapse of the Japanese stock market. ..."
"... Russia bought that land from Sweden, the same as the US bought Alaska. They gave them their independence after the revolution. All of these countries were dictatorships before the WWII and all of them voted and asked to join the USSR. ..."
"... On that note, I really think that my interview with Professor Richard Sakwa (Chatham House) titled "Between the Cold War and the Cold Peace: How the West betrayed Russia" may also be of your interest. ..."
"... Deep State's durable foreign policy, which is always the de facto policy, is remarkably resilient no matter which political party is elected to fill the chairs. Elections and the will of the voters have virtually no influence on it, except in the tenor of the propaganda. ..."
"... I am amazed at all of the commenters who think expanding NATO up to the borders of Russia is a great idea. How would you like for Russia to form a military alliance with Mexico and for the Russian military to be conducting exercises along our southern border with Mexico? ..."
Dec 20, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com
President George H. W. Bush and President Mikhail Gorbachev sign United States/Soviet Union agreements to end chemical weapon production and begin destroying their respective stocks in the East Room of the White House, Washington, DC in June 1990. (White House photo) Statecraft is a complicated business, but the criteria by which we judge statesmen turn out to be less so. The central question reduces to whether those charged with formulating policy succeed in enhancing the power and security of the nation they lead.

Yet near-term advantage does not necessarily translate into long-term benefit. With the passage of time, a seemingly clever gambit can yield poisonous fruit. So it is with the way the George Herbert Walker Bush administration managed the end of the Cold War.

From a geopolitical perspective, the Cold War from the very outset had centered on the German question. Concluding that conflict necessarily required resolving Germany's anomalous division into two halves, with West Germany a key member of NATO and East Germany occupying a similar status in the opposing Warsaw Pact. Of course, no such resolution could be possible unless the victors of World War II, primarily the United States and the Soviet Union, but also Great Britain and France, all concurred.

Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev provided the necessary catalyst to make agreement possible. Gorbachev's bold effort to reform and thereby save the USSR, launched in the mid-1980s, converted the belt of Soviet satellites in Eastern Europe from a source of strategic depth to a collection of liabilities. When Gorbachev signaled that unlike his predecessors he had no intention of using force to maintain the Soviet Empire, it almost immediately disintegrated. With that, momentum for German reunification became all but irresistible.

By the end of 1989, the issue facing policymakers on both sides of the rapidly vanishing Iron Curtain was not whether reunification should occur, but where a reunited Germany would fit in a radically transformed political landscape. Already possessing the biggest economy in all of Europe, Germany seemed certain to become even more of a powerhouse once it had absorbed its formerly communist eastern precincts. No one -- including German Chancellor Helmut Kohl -- thought it a good idea to allow this new Germany to become a free-floater, situated in the center of Europe but untethered from the sort of restraints that the Cold War had imposed.

For Washington, London, and Paris, the solution was obvious: keep the Germans in a warm but firm embrace. Ensuring that a united Germany remained part of NATO would reduce the likelihood of it choosing at some future date to strike an independent course.

The challenge facing the Western allies was to persuade Gorbachev to see the wisdom of this proposition. After all, twice within memory, Germany had invaded Russia, inflicting almost unimaginable damage and suffering. That the Soviets might view with trepidation the prospect of a resurgent Germany remaining part of an explicitly anti-Soviet military alliance was not paranoia. It was prudence.

To make that prospect palatable, the Bush administration assured the Soviets that they had nothing to fear from a Western alliance that included a united Germany. NATO no longer viewed the USSR as an adversary. Apart from incorporating the territory of the former East Germany, the alliance was going to stay put. Washington was sensitive to and would respect Russia's own security interests. So at least U.S. officials claimed.

Thanks to newly declassified documents published by the National Security Archive, we now have a clearer appreciation of just how explicit those assurances were. Among the documents is the transcript of an especially revealing conversation between Gorbachev and Secretary of State James Baker in Moscow on February 9, 1990.

The discussion touched on several topics, but centered on the German question. As Baker framed the issue, history was now handing the victorious allies an opportunity to correct the mistakes they had made in the wake of World War II. "We fought alongside with you; together we brought peace to Europe," Baker told Gorbachev. "Regrettably, we then managed this peace poorly, which led to the Cold War," he continued.

"We could not cooperate then," he said. "Now, as rapid and fundamental changes are taking place in Europe, we have a propitious opportunity to cooperate in the interests of preserving the peace. I very much want you to know: neither the president nor I intend to extract any unilateral advantages from the processes that are taking place."

Washington's intentions were friendly. Gorbachev could absolutely count on the Bush administration to support his perestroika and glasnost initiatives. "In a word, we want your efforts to be successful," Baker insisted. Indeed, he continued, "if somewhere in the course of events you feel that the United States is doing something undesirable to you, without hesitation call us and tell us about it."

By extension, there was no need for Gorbachev to trouble himself about NATO. The alliance provided "the mechanism for securing the U.S. presence in Europe," which, Baker implied, was good for everyone. Keeping G.I.s in Europe would prevent Germany from once more becoming a troublemaker, benefiting all parties to include the USSR.

"We understand," Baker continued, "that not only for the Soviet Union but for other European countries as well it is important to have guarantees that if the United States keeps its presence in Germany within the framework of NATO, not an inch of NATO's present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction [emphasis added]." Indeed, the proposed U.S. approach to negotiating terms for ending Germany's division would "guarantee that Germany's unification will not lead to NATO's military organization spreading to the east."

The secretary of state then posed a hypothetical. "Supposing unification takes place," he asked Gorbachev, "what would you prefer: a united Germany outside of NATO, absolutely independent and without American troops; or a united Germany keeping its connections with NATO, but with the guarantee that NATO's jurisprudence [jurisdiction?] or troops will not spread east of the present boundary?"

The issue was one he wished to discuss with his colleagues, Gorbachev replied, remarking only that "it goes without saying that a broadening of the NATO zone is not acceptable."

To which Baker responded: "We agree with that."

Later that very year German reunification became an accomplished fact. By the end of the following year, Gorbachev was out of a job and the Soviet Union had become defunct. Before another 12 months had passed, Baker's boss lost his bid for a second term as Americans elected their first post-Cold War president. By this time, countries of the former Warsaw Pact were already clamoring to join NATO. The administration of Bill Clinton proved more than receptive to such appeals. As a consequence, the assurances given to Gorbachev were rendered inoperative.

NATO's eastward march commenced, with the alliance eventually incorporating not only former Soviet satellites but even former Soviet republics. In effect, U.S. policymakers responded favorably to the aspirations of Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians while disregarding Russian security interests, apparently assuming that Kremlin leaders had no recourse but to concede.

As long as Russia remained weak, that may well have been the case. As if to press home the point, Clinton's successors even toyed with the idea of inviting Georgia and Ukraine to join NATO -- more or less the equivalent of incorporating Cuba and Mexico into the Warsaw Pact back in the bad old days.

At that point, a Kremlin leader less trusting of the West than Gorbachev had been decided that enough was enough. Vladimir Putin, a very nasty piece of work but also arguably a Russian patriot, made it clear that NATO's eastward expansion had ended. Putin's 2008 armed intervention in Georgia, annexation of the Crimea in 2014, and multiple incursions into Ukraine beginning that same year elicited howls of protest from the Washington commentariat. Putin, they charged, was trampling on the "norms" of international conduct that were supposed to govern behavior in the post-Cold War world.

But Putin was not wrong to observe that the United States routinely exempted itself from any such norms when it perceived its own vital interests to be at stake. For roughly a quarter century, the United States had paid no price for picking Gorbachev's pocket back in 1990. Indeed, nations once unhappily lodged within the Soviet sphere had thereby benefited greatly. NATO became a club open to everyone but Russia. In Washington's favored formulation, Europe thereby became "whole and free." Now, however, the bills incurred by this feckless policy are coming due and Europeans are looking to the United States to pay them.

Today's NATO consists of 29 nations, nearly double what its membership was when Secretary Baker promised Gorbachev that the alliance would not advance a single inch eastward. When it comes to paying for the collective defense, few of those nations contribute their required share. In effect, America's allies expect it to do the heavy lifting. The United States has thereby incurred burdensome obligations without accruing any obvious benefit. Once more, over 70 years after World War II, the United States is sending its troops to defend Europeans fully capable of defending themselves. Donald Trump has charged, not without cause, that our allies are playing us for suckers.

In today's Washington, where Russophobia runs rampant, it has become fashionable to speak of a New Cold War, provoked by Putin's aggressive actions. Yet if we are indeed embarking upon a new age of brinksmanship, we can trace its origins to 1990 when Putin was merely a disgruntled KGB colonel and we were playing the Soviets for suckers.

In his meeting with Gorbachev, Baker expressed regret about the victorious allies mismanaging the opportunity for peace created by the end of World War II. A similar judgment applies to the opportunity for peace created by the end of the Cold War. Upon reflection, the United States might have been better served had it honored its 1990 commitment to Gorbachev.

Andrew J. Bacevich is TAC's writer-at-large.

Cynthia McLean December 22, 2017 at 1:12 pm

Thank you for being such a truth-teller.

One point, not made, is the Profit -- in billions $$ -- that US armaments corporations have made by supplying weapons to all these ex-soviet states.

The US is not to be trusted on much of anything except its belief that Might is Right.

Xtof , says: December 22, 2017 at 1:56 pm
AB is partly correct in that both Baker and Genscher did make very bold proposals to Soviet leadership about the future of NATO – – Baker's 'not one inch into East Germany' conception being less extensive than Genscher's comprehensive non-expansion 'Tutzing formulation' – – but he should have put much greater emphasis on at least two points: 1) that these proposals were merely suggestions, and were designed to 'feel out' Soviet leadership on what it was willing to negotiate regarding German reunification; second, and arguably even more important, both of these conceptions did not have the support of either the West German Chancellor or the U.S. President – – points which also follow from the 'recently declassified diplomatic record' (so read the Bush-Kohl dialogue, and see that they were completely unified on German reunification without any conditions or restrictions to be placed on NATO) – – and thus both Foreign Minister Genscher and Secretary of State Baker were completely hamstrung at the time when each made his conception known.

We could add a third key point, and that is that, even if Gorbachev or Shevardnadze had decided to push for EITHER the Baker or Genscher Plan – – and we can easily appreciate why no Soviet official would be either willing or able to think in terms of post-Warsaw Pact, let alone post-Soviet, times and thus of their forthcoming Russian Federation's future relationship with NATO – – then they would have publicly met with the same unified American-West German refusal to put conditions on NATO that Bush & Kohl had previously agreed; so, in effect, with these two supporting an open-ended future of NATO, any Soviet leader would have been told 'nyet' if he had sought to codify Baker's or Genscher's conceptions into a formal agreement.

Last, on the subject of what NATO did finally agree with the Russian federation, review the text of the NATO-Russia Founding Act of 1997, and you'll find two very nice surprises from early post-Cold War history: 1) that NATO was quite willing to codify its plans for membership expansion, principally to reassure Federation leadership that its planned expansion had no hostile intent whatsoever toward the Fdereation; and 2) that Yeltsin, as Federation President, did not feel threatened in the least by NATO expansion, and he said so publicly he didn't like that expansion, and also said so publicly, but it's very telling that he never felt threatened by it. Furthermore, NATO still avoided stationing its forces into the Eastern part of the reunified German state until well after the Soviet collapse.

Given the article at hand, that's all that AB should need to know about the stark differences between Yeltsin's Federation and Putin's, and the amazing continuity between NATO's late Cold War and its early post-Cold War position regarding its expansion plans and how this continuity fits nicely with the context of the only major treaty to be negotiated with the Federation.

jjc , says: December 22, 2017 at 3:54 pm
This article links to the National Security Archive's recent collection of documents which clearly demonstrates the assurances made to Gorbachev were sourced widely among NATO members, much more so than previously understood. The opinions expressed in, for example, the 2014 Brookings article – shared by a commentator – which downplays the matter, are now outdated.

Sphere of influence: the argument that Russia has no right to have opinions on regional politics, or security concerns, usually ignores major contextual information; i.e the NATO expansion has occurred during a transformation from defensive alliance to a more assertive posture, as seen in Serbia and Libya. It has occurred while the US has assumed a military posture based on world hegemony and clearly stated objectives of preventing other states from ever posing a challenge to this primacy. It occurred while arms treaties (ABM) were broken and while missile systems were introduced to the region. Important as well to acknowledge Russia as a major nuclear power, and this policy of poking the bear, so to speak, seems needlessly aggressive and unintelligent.

Further, the situation in Ukraine appears to have been a deliberate provocation sought by the Anglo bloc of the NATO alliance, in concert with the more paranoid political actors of the region. A negotiated political settlement had been reached concerning the Maidan. The subsequent coup was an expressly deliberate reaction to prevent this settlement from going into effect. The USA, UK, and Canada provocatively determined the coup as "legitimate", and in doing so chose to assist in the destabilization of the country. This Anglo bloc has promoted a false and incomplete narrative of events, and stepped up a dangerous militarization of the region justified by this false account.

LouisM , says: December 19, 2017 at 11:55 pm
This betrayal may actually get rectified but much of it is outside the hands of the EU and in the hands of Russia (my opinion).

Thanks to US support under Trump the VISEGRAD is front and center while western Europe takes a backseat. The neocons may want to use the VISEGRAD as a launching point for Russia but I do not think that is Trumps agenda. The fear in Poland, Hungary, Czech and Slovak Republics is not from the US or its warmongering anti-Russian neocons. It comes from Russia's relationship with its former satellites since they were freed and joined EU and NATO.

All VISEGRAD nations have said they will take no more muslim or African migrants even if it means fines, loss of aid or an exit. The stance of the VISEGRAD is expanding to Lithuania, Austria, Romania, Bulgaria and Slovenia. This would effectively fence off much, if not all, of the land route to Europe.

Russia doesn't want African and muslim migrants either.

If Russia can create a detent with the VISEGRAD and allay their fears then Russia could diffuse much of the need for the NATO weaponry that Russia feels threatened. At the rate Europe and Russia are depopulating, even a small war would be lunacy.

The other thing Russia craves are goods, services, technology, etc which the VISEGRAD would gladly offer in exchange for Russian goods and services.

Further, we have seen common ground with VISEGRAD and Russia against migrants. The VISEGRAD is willing to stand apart from the EU if necessary. Russia may not get the VISEGRAD to leave NATO but Russia might get the VISEGRAD to operate more independently of the EU and NATO. The fundamental point here is a simple one. The VISEGRAD has the potential to either be a barrier to Russia or a buffer zone from the EU and NATO to Russia. Much of this is really up to Russia's ability to allay past fears and take a new approach.

Further I don't think Trump would object. My observation of Trump is that he has more contempt than respect for Sweden, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, etc. NATO nations that cannot control their borders and do not maintain their 2% commitment of GDP are parasites and freeloaders to Trump. However Trump shows great respect to the VISEGRAD for protecting its borders and NATO commitments.

Historically, its worth noting about the VISEGRAD countries. They suffered more than the mass murders and totalitarianism of being communist satellites of the Soviet Union. Prior to that these nations were destroyed when Russia invaded to the west and when Europe invaded to the east. The VISEGRAD does not want to be the battle field for a Russia defending itself against NATO or NATO defending itself against Russia. The VISEGRAD knows that they suffer and lose under either scenario. The VISEGRAD wants security guarantees from Russia and NATO. Knowing this, Russia could reframe the entire dynamic of the VISEGRAD. It wouldn't be a full win for Russia but if played well, then it might be just be enough for the US, VISEGRAD and Russia.

Don N , says: December 20, 2017 at 12:03 am
Poor Russia, a country that occupied, then annexed the Baltic States against their will.
Poor Russia, a country that banned Ukrainian language and culture, starved to depopulate it, then tried to replace its people with Russians.
Poor Russia, the country that occupied Eastern Europe and had no compunction about rolling tanks down the streets of Prauge when they had the audacity to want to determine their own destiny.
Poor Russia, a country that took "active measures" and annexed Crimea from Ukraine and set it's troops and media to foment rebellion in the Donbass.

There is a good reason all these countries sought protection from repeated, constant acts of Russian aggression against their sovereignty.

The US leads a coalition of free nations that don't want to be treated upon by the boot off Russian oppression. After the end of the Cold War the Russians were under no threat from NATO whatsoever. Their actions are the actions of a bully and it is a poor strategy to hide in a corner and cower. The Russians are free to take their place as one of the most powerful members of the coalition of free nations. Instead they have decided to embark on their current pathetic path.

Realist , says: December 20, 2017 at 2:53 am
The US government is untrustworthy and corrupt. This has been the case foe decades.
Mark Thomason , says: December 20, 2017 at 4:58 am
In light of this, what is China to make of its concerns for spread of US forces to its Yalu border, very close to Beijing? Assurances? Bah. They'd have to be nuts, and they are not that.
Terrence Moloney , says: December 20, 2017 at 5:11 am
Mr Bacevich seems to think that a backroom conversation between one cabinet member of the U.S. and the leader of the USSR constitutes some sort of binding treaty on the U.S. and NATO. This will be news to all the other NATO countries and to Congress who admitted the Baltic States and Poland some 15 years after this friendly chat. Indeed, news to Russia too who weren't overjoyed by NATO's expansion but recognized it as a legitimate decision that a sovereign country can make, as Russia's defense minister in 2002, Sergei Ivanov, stated in 2002. No mention of Baker's 'promise'. Indeed, Russia had, and has, little choice to respect these choices because they were at the time claiming the Baltic States freely joined the USSR in 41.
More broadly, this article and similar ones never explain precisely how NATO expansion has harmed or threatens Russia or precipitated any of the difficult events of the past decade. Does anyone really suppose that if NATO were not in Estonia the events in Georgia, Ukraine and Crimea would have unfolded differently? Can Mr Bacevich explain what might have been different if NATO hadn't expanded? In all likelihood, if NATO hadn't expanded, we'd all be significantly more nervous about unimpeded Russia activity in Eastern Europe post-Crimea. The EU, already under strain from the Euro crisis, might not have survived. It's impossible to say, but it's equally true that none of the "NATO's eastern mistake" team can ever put their finger on the harm posed by NATO's expansion. It's always something vague, like 'Russia's legitimate zone of interest' or 'putting Russia in a corner'. But anyone can readily see that none of these countries pose the slightest threat to Russia. Latvia is not gearing up for an invasion of Russia despite its annexation of Abrene by the Soviets that the Russia's have held onto. Nor is Russia in a corner; it's the largest country on Earth with enormous potential as the only bona fide Eurasian country, with land borders on two of the largest economic zones -- the EU and China -- in the world. Its problems are almost entirely its own doing.
Lastly, this article makes some of the historic elisions common to its genre: Russia was not invaded in WW1 unless you call Poland, Belarus and the Baltic States "Russia". This will be news to the locals. Nor did anyone pick Gorbachev's "pocket", unless you suppose all those Eastern European peoples are nothing more than Russia's possessions. But, to slightly expand a quote of Latvia's former President, Vaira Vike-Freiberga, "The Lord did not put [Eastern Europeans] on Earth simply to please the Russians."
Janek , says: December 20, 2017 at 6:04 am
The logic of the article by A. J. Bacewich does not make any sense. What J.A.Bacewich is saying in this article is that United States of America in 1990 effectively committed Yalta 2 through president G. H. W. Bush and the secretary of state J. Baker. From what AJB writes in his piece it looks like the only purpose for the USA and NATO to fight the 'cold war' was to unite Germany. Where is the logic in that kind of thinking? If uniting Germany was the only purpose? What was the point in keeping the Germans in the framework of NATO, and NATO itself with the USA military presence probably at the same level as during the 'cold war' apparently, according to the logic of JAB, in perpetuity just to keep the Germans subdued and out of "troubles". The costs of that would be probably higher for the USA that they are now. Does JAB thinks that the USSR (Russia) and obviously Germany would stay at the same military and economic level as in 1980-90? Only very naive person could think like that. It does not matter how you call it, USSR or Russia, sooner or later that country would bounce back as she did with V. Putin.

It does not matter if NATO expanded or not, at this time (2017), USSR or Russia would be back with the vengeance as she is now. The problems now of USA in global politics in general, and with Russia in particular, was not the NATO expansion but the corrupted neoliberal economic model that the USA and the West imposed on themselves and Russia. Russia after Yeltsin and during the time V. Putin is in power limited the scope and the damage the neoliberal system was doing to the country, but the USA and the West continue on the same corrupted neoliberal path up until today. Another cause of the geopolitical problems the USA have now were and are the wars in the Middle East.

Does JAB thinks that if NATO would not expand and with Russia was left as she was in 1990 today the military expenses for the USA would be less than they are today? I do not think so. I think probably by now you would not have USA and NATO in Europe especially in Western Europe. What NATO expansion accomplished was prevention of war in Europe. The problem was not the expansion of NATO, but irresponsible and shortsighted imposition of the corrupted neoliberal economic order on the US, the West and on the Russia plus the wars in the Middle East. To blame the current USA political problems on the expansion of NATO is not based on reality and on what happened after 1990s, it is simply trying to stick head in the sand by those responsible for the current global problems. After all what was the point of fighting the cold war? Would it not be cheeper, and more acceptable for people like JAB, for the USA to cede the Europe to the USSR right after WW2 ?

Sal , says: December 20, 2017 at 8:04 am
Why in the world must you repeat the "nasty piece of work" mantra? Do you really believe it or is it to gain acceptance? Or do you preface every mention of US presidents, justifiably, with the same "nasty piece of work"?
J Harlan , says: December 20, 2017 at 8:23 am
"Donald Trump has charged, not without cause, that our allies are playing us for suckers."

If the US wants to ring Russia with bases why should't US taxpayers pay for it? DOD's budget is partly for imperial policing and partly a regional and corporate gravy train. It has some true "defense" functions but those are very limited. Why would Germans or the French want to pay extra taxes to protect themselves from a "threat" that if it even exists is because of aggressive American foreign policy?

US taxpayers are being played for suckers but by their own defense department not Europeans.

anyname , says: December 20, 2017 at 8:46 am
First time see real Russians point of view here. It was so dump to lost good communication with our ally WW2
DanJ , says: December 20, 2017 at 8:51 am
Negotiating any agreement is a lengthy process, and parties cannot be bound by all offers and counter-offers floated during discussions. What is in the actual treaty counts. If there had been a mutual agreement that NATO would not expand, then it would have been put on paper. It was not.

Gorbachev asked for -- and got -- substantial financial help in repatriating his troops from East Germany, and did not demand checks to NATO expansion.

Mark Pando , says: December 20, 2017 at 9:33 am
Bacevich nails it again. As a Cold War veteran I couldn't agree more. The United States didn't "win" the Cold War -- the USSR "lost" it, instead. Therein lays a huge difference. You don't kick a dog when he is down. The mindless expansion of NATO eastward following the demise of the USSR in 1991 was stupid–anyone who knows Russian history and geography is keenly aware of this fact. Putin, just like Trump, is trying to make his country great again. Surprise!!!
Kent , says: December 20, 2017 at 10:47 am
Having the Europeans pay for their own security would end up destroying the American empire. They will want to purchase weapons manufactured in Europe, not America, to give their own people jobs. They will need to develop weapons that are on par with American weapons and so will commit to the necessary R&D. Their own MIC will develop, and they will need to find reasons to use these weapons, which will require constant replacement and upgrades.

And pretty soon Europe will return to its imperialist ways of old, with no need for America.

Should that be a goal of ours?

ScottA , says: December 20, 2017 at 10:54 am
Quite an outstanding article Mr. Bacevich.

Given Russia's history of being invaded from the West, with Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union being the bloodiest conflict in human history, it is remarkable to me that our government cannot understand why expanding NATO eastward would be viewed as very alarming to the Russians.

In my opinion the best and most realistic movie about Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union is the German made movie "Stalingrad" made in 1992 by the production team that made "Das Boot" to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the bloodiest battle in human history. I think that watching this movie is helpful in understanding the Russian psyche and why the Russians view the West moving its military forces eastward as particularly alarming.

Ahdrey , says: December 20, 2017 at 11:19 am
20 years, Americans and Europeans lied that promises not. Putin said that we were deceived, but the Europeans smiled and continued to lie. So why now are you surprised of the rigidity of Russia's position? We tricked the Americans and the Europeans we'll be remembered for a thousand years and give to his descendants so they always kept the powder dry. NATO is a punitive organization and someday we will have to face. The fate you have created.
Viriato , says: December 20, 2017 at 12:28 pm
As usual, the U.S. won the war but lost the peace. One question, though: Why are the Russians so angry about NATO expansion? Yes, it's a broken promise on our part. Yet, that aspect of it aside, why the anger? Why are they so opposed to the expansion of a defensive alliance -- one which they could someday join? How, exactly, does the expansion of a defensive alliance threaten their security interests?
Michael Kenny , says: December 20, 2017 at 12:33 pm
The classic blinkered cold war distortion. Washington never assured "Russia" of anything in 1990. The country we now call "Russia", the Russian Federation, has existed as a sovereign state only since 26 December 1991. Thus, by very definition, the US could not have "assured" Russia of anything before that date.

The picture quite correctly identifies Gorbachev as the president of the Soviet Union. He was never at any time president of Russia, which has had only two presidents since it became independent: Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin. It is American cold war dinosaurs, who simply can't get their heads around the idea that the Soviet Union and communism are gone forever, who are the cause of the "new cold war".

If they would stop treating the Russian Federation as the if it were the Soviet Union and start treating as what it actually is, one of 15 successor states to the Soviet Union, on the same basis as Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Belarus, Moldova etc., NATO expansion would be no problem. Indeed, if US cold warriors hadn't obstructed it, Russia, Ukraine and Georgia would have become members of the alliance at the same time. The fact that Putin is every bit as much a cold war dinosaur as his American counterparts doesn't change that. And none of that gives the Russian Federation the right to deny the sovereignty of any of the other successor states and, even less, to invade and annex their territory. American cold warriors caused the problem with Putin. It is up to them to clean up the mess their blinkered and outdated world view caused. Capitulating to Putin and arrogantly asserting the right to give away other people's countries does not achieve that purpose.

Fran Macadam , says: December 20, 2017 at 12:55 pm
American elites spend American treasure for their imperium, so that American elite interests take precedence, as per Nuland's "F -- the E.U." Confoundedly, Andy omits the Ukraine putsch she midwived. He who pays the piper calls the tune – and if a Europe still occupied by American forces as the continuation of WWII were to pay its own money, that military occupation would shortly end, just as the withdrawal of Soviet support ended their European satrapies' support of the Warsaw Pact.
Kuzmich Mar , says: December 20, 2017 at 1:09 pm
Guys, you first confess that you have deceived us for 20 years, and then wonder why we are against NATO enlargement? Guys, you're ohueli. Why should we trust you at all? Why should we believe that NATO is a defensive alliance?
SteveM , says: December 20, 2017 at 1:20 pm
Re: Sal, "Why in the world must you repeat the "nasty piece of work" mantra? Do you really believe it or is it to gain acceptance? Or do you preface every mention of US presidents, justifiably, with the same "nasty piece of work"?

I was thinking the same thing as Sal. Almost the entire Elite Nomenklatura in Washington and Wall Street can be considered a collective "nasty piece of work" given all of the social and economic wreckage that they have produced both at home and abroad. Putin/Russia's excesses don't hold a candle to the catastrophes ginned up by that crew of arrogant militarists and corrupted parasites.

Dr. Bacevich should either tone down his histrionic shibboleth's against Vladimir Putin or else expand his target set to include the larger universe of native political-crony trash.

harry colin , says: December 20, 2017 at 1:57 pm
I'm another Cold War veteran who agrees with Mr. Pando about the article. The same people who are clamoring about Russia denying the sovereignty of independent nations were very likely cheerleaders each time the US tried to remove Castro, when we invaded Panama, Iraq, and bombed the Serbs in the Balkans. As for Ukraine, the Crimea has always been mostly Russian until Khrushchev gave it away in the mid 50's to achieve some internal political aims.

Despite the explosive growth of NATO, the Baltic nations are really not "free" because of the guarantees of the alliance. If Putin wanted to invade them he could have them easily; stashing one brigade of US troops over there would have only the effect of daring an American president to risk a nuclear exchange with a country able to defend itself. If anyone thinks any of these C-in-C's would do any nuclear sabre-rattling because Russian tanks are rolling into Talinn, I have a deed to a wonderful NY bridge for you.

Kuzmich Mar , says: December 20, 2017 at 1:59 pm
Colonel Gaddafi believed the United States and refused to develop nuclear weapons. But leader of North Korea does not want to believe the USA. What do you think, why is this?
Tiktaalik , says: December 20, 2017 at 1:59 pm
DanJ, you don't honor even signed agreements, so who cares? In the end it was very dumb move that completely cured most of the Russian population from giving any trust to the West sirens. Good for the US (presumably) in the short run, very bad in the long
Tiktaalik , says: December 20, 2017 at 2:01 pm
For amateur lawyers here -- why should have Russia stuck to the Budapest memo? It haven't been ratified, guys
b. , says: December 20, 2017 at 2:08 pm
This links to a useful reference, but the article has its omissions and misrepresentations. "The United States has thereby incurred burdensome obligations without accruing any obvious benefit."

This is unadulterated BS. These satrapies are offering the US forward deployment for military assets, possibly including first strike and decapitation weapons again – as Germany did before the reunification – as well as basing for missile defense systems that will eventually -- if they ever work -- complement these destabilizing weapon systems. They also provide bases without which US operations in the Middle East and the Mediterranean would be much more costly, if not difficult. These "privileges" come at substantial cost, as South Korea is in the process of recognizing.

It might be customary for the hegemony to extract a tax from its satraps, but the incessant whining is beginning to wear.

It should also be noted that US activities in Georgia and Ukraine preceded Putin's "act of transgression". It should further be noted that the Georgia conflict is very much an example of the erosion of international norms that Clinton and Kohl initiated in the Balkan conflict – which Russia explicitly warned the US about.

The expansion of NATO, more often than not, did not exactly solicit full-throated endorsement from legacy members either.

But the really important omissions here concern the main actors – Gorbachev, Baker, Bush et.al. Is it really convincing to assume that Gorbachev was not aware of the US propensity to scrap treaties and agreements as soon as administrations change? Maybe my perspective is distorted by the Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump "experience" of the modern US, and actors like Reagan – whose violations of international law and norms are well known – and Bush Sr. – who made his career by such acts – actually had a record of behaving honorably, and Gorbachev had reason to trust their word, instead of insisting on a ratified treaty.

How likely is it that Gorbachev knew very well that Germany might be re-unified with a claim to become "neutral" – as Stalin had once proposed – only to re-join NATO under some pretext within the decade? How exactly was any of these "commitments" to be guaranteed between nations that did not exactly have a record of upholding the international order and the peace at all cost?

More importantly, is there any reason to assume that Baker actually believed a single word of what he said, or that he expected Gorbachev to believe any of it? We have to remember that this is the man who "managed" Ronald Reagan's attempt to discuss abolition of nuclear weapons with Gorbachev. Whatever Gorbachev might have believed, might have had to believe, or might have had to pretend to believe, it does not appear reasonable to trust Baker's words then or later with respect to these gentlemen and their "agreements".

There is every reason to believe that Clinton did to the international order as he did to international banking and financial industries, and that his legacy is exceeded in impact and damage only by Bush and Obama in sins of commission (the former) and omission (the latter). There is every reason to believe that US – and especially Democratic Party – insistence on breaking and ultimately breaking apart Russia as a project of "national interest" is shortsighted and idiotic, and that within a context of power as described by Bismarck and Machiavelli, it was very much in European and US interest to offer Russia a place in balance to China, India and other emerging powers.

But this recognition does not really need an proof, claimed or real, that the US misled Gorbachev and Russia. This may well have been a criminally fraudulent move, but more importantly, it was a criminally stupid one, motivated by those two primal drivers of the American Prosperity gospel – shortsighted greed and willful ignorance.

b. , says: December 20, 2017 at 2:11 pm
"Washington never assured 'Russia' of anything in 1990. The country we now call 'Russia', the Russian Federation, has existed as a sovereign state only since 26 December 1991."

As an added benefit, not resorting to the exegesis of the historical record of the various gambits performed by the great gamblers of their day would also spare us this level of armchair litigation.

J Harlan , says: December 20, 2017 at 3:13 pm
It is completely unbelievable that the Soviets (after two invasions by Germany that killed about 27 million Soviets) would have just shrugged at the idea of NATO expanding to Poland let alone the Ukraine. The real question is why didn't Gorbachev insist on a written treaty. There was nothing in US history that should have made him expect honesty so why nothing in writing? I have no doubt he was lied to or manipulated but was he really that naive or incompetent to trust the US?
Steve , says: December 20, 2017 at 3:35 pm
Right after the collapse of the Soviet Union, I told my wife that, while the Soviets came in 'last' in the Cold War, the US came in second-to-last. I told her that Japan won the Cold War. The Soviets made tanks, the US made tanks and Japan made Nissans. My 1985 Nissan pickup truck still runs great and where are all the tanks today? Mind you, this was before the collapse of the Japanese stock market.
brylcream , says: December 20, 2017 at 3:55 pm
@ Don N
December 20, 2017 at 12:03 am

"Poor Russia, a country that occupied, then annexed the Baltic States against their will."

Russia bought that land from Sweden, the same as the US bought Alaska. They gave them their independence after the revolution. All of these countries were dictatorships before the WWII and all of them voted and asked to join the USSR.

"Poor Russia, a country that banned Ukrainian language and culture, starved to depopulate it, then tried to replace its people with Russians.
Poor Russia, the country that occupied Eastern Europe and had no compunction about rolling tanks down the streets of Prauge when they had the audacity to want to determine their own destiny.

Poor Russia, a country that took "active measures" and annexed Crimea from Ukraine and set it's troops and media to foment rebellion in the Donbass."

Actually, the Soviets made Ukraine, there was no any Ukraine or 'Ukrainians' before the 20th century. Also they imposed official Ukrainization through their political and educational system. The people were losing their jobs if they weren't using Ukrainian, there was a precise article in a criminal code.
The Crimeans voted to rejoin Russia after a violent armed coup in Kiev. That was a third referendum held in Crimea after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

oleg petrov , says: December 20, 2017 at 4:45 pm
Double standarts:

NATO troops in Baltic states, AMB system in Poland (western border of Ukraine) must not be Russia security concern, but Russia's troops on eastern border pf Ukraine & Kaliningrad anclave-certainly is NATO concern. Taking Kosovo from Serbia? annexation of east Jerusalem & Gollan Heights is right, returning Crimea by Russia is wrong, USA invasion in Iraq, US arming & financing anti-Asad rebels(some are real terrorists) in Syria is good, Russia support for separatists in East Ukraine is bad. Not keeping promoces about NATO non-expansion is right, not keeping promice of Budapest memorandum by Russia is wrong.

In other words:"US & NATO masturbation is so good for population, and only Russia masturbation is very bad for population".

someuaguy , says: December 20, 2017 at 6:47 pm
I saw the translation of this article on a Russian site, and it's amazing. Does the United States have people who understand that other countries also have their own national interests? Adopting this fact will eliminate many of the problems of misunderstanding Russian politics.

The commentator above said:

"Washington never assured" Russia "of anything in 1990. The country we now call" Russia ", the Russian Federation, has existed as a sovereign state only since December 26, 1991."

So, the Russians do not know at all that Russia is then "did not exist." START 1 was also signed by Gorbachev, and he respected the Russian Federation.

Dennis , says: December 20, 2017 at 9:15 pm
NATO should have been disbanded along with the Warsaw Pact after 1990. What was supposed to be a defensive pact against the USSR became an offensive war-mongering machine in control of neo-cons making war on Serbia in the late 90s and manufacturing false-WMD claims against Iraq in the 2000s. Anyone and everyone involved in high-command positions at NATO, including Clinton, Bush II, and Obama, should be indicted for war crimes.
tz , says: December 20, 2017 at 9:28 pm
I'm more worried about when Turkey provokes Israel to attack it and invokes Article 5.
Mark Krvavica , says: December 20, 2017 at 9:50 pm
With the fall of the Soviet Union in December 1991, there was no need for NATO. The U.S. should have left this Cold War relic during the 1990s.
Stephen Reynolds , says: December 21, 2017 at 5:41 am
James Baker could give assurances about how the president was thinking. He could not make a formal commitment. Gorbachev knew that (or do you think he was an incompetent negotiator?). Nevertheless, the formal agreement contained no restrictions on NATO. There was no commitment.

Mr Bacevich is better on the topic nevertheless, because he recognizes that the driver in NATO expansion was not Bill Clinton or the Pentagon or NATO generals but Visegrad and the Baltic countries. About Visegrad, read Joanna Gorska's _Dealing with a Juggernaut_. The Baltic states were in fact already threatened by post-Soviet early on. TAC and the Progressives are apparently regretful that the West has been unwilling to throw these countries to the crocodile. I prefer the attitude expressed by Strobe Talbot, in _The Russia Hand_, for example.

NATO did not rush in admitting countries that were more than an inch east of Berlin. It practiced due diligence. It did some unfortunate things indirectly affecting Russia and the new NATO members, first by not limiting itself to stopping Serbian excesses in Bosnia-Hercegovina but attacking Serbia directly and sponsoring the transfer in Kossovo to an Albanian mafia. And it abandoned restraint and good sense in speaking of membership for Ukraine and Georgia. Russia's response was of the sort likely to make Ukrainians and Georgians want to join NATO, but for the time being at least the issue is not alive.

The responsibility borne by the West in these matters consists mostly of its embrace of neoliberalism and the neolib world order. "Shock therapy" gave Russia a miserable decade (the 1990s) and a distaste for Western democracy. It also made EU membership unattractive to Ukraine. But when Yanukovych moved to join Putin's Eurasian Union instead, the Ukrainians saw their country on the path to becoming a Russian satellite state. The future they wanted was exemplified by Poland, which had weathered the Great Recession better than most and was a free country in most respects. The future they saw looming was exemplified by Bielarus, ruled for a generation by a bloody-handed thug and economically almost where it had been in the Soviet period. Victoria Nuland and the CIA could not possibly have brought the numbers to the Maidan that actually appeared there. She should certainly have kept a lower profile, but Yanukovych was overthrown by the Ukrainians, not by outside agitators.

Oh, and then there is Harry Colin's assertion that "the Crimea has always been mostly Russian until Khrushchev gave it away in the mid 50's . . . ." Well, the population there has not been mostly Ukrainian ever, true. But always–apparently "always" now begins with the reign of Catharine II. Previously it was Greek, Armenian, Tatar, and so on, but not Russian. Catharine sent in Russian settlers just so Mr Colin could make his remark. What do the Tatars think of it?

Adriel Kasonta , says: December 21, 2017 at 5:55 am
Great article Professor! I really enjoyed it.

On that note, I really think that my interview with Professor Richard Sakwa (Chatham House) titled "Between the Cold War and the Cold Peace: How the West betrayed Russia" may also be of your interest.

KR

Dan Green , says: December 21, 2017 at 9:55 am
Three current world Powers. The US, Russia, and China. Both armed to the gills as they say. Each with a distinct model , which included starting wars if it serves their individual interest. The worrisome fact is both Russia and China have chosen the leaders and support their intentions. We change foreign policy as often as I change my underwear.
Mark VA , says: December 21, 2017 at 10:08 am
Not expanding NATO upon the demise of the USSR, would have been synonymous with the USA agreeing that Russia has a right to a permanent "sphere of influence". Also, it would have revived the discredited "Enlightenment" division of real Europe into "Europe" and "East of Europe";

At any rate, perhaps Mr. Bacevich can make his case in Warsaw, Vilnius, Riga, Tallinn, Prague, Bratislava, Bucharest, Sofia, and also Minsk, Tbilisi, Yerevan, and first and foremost, Kiev;

If the truth is on his side, then these peoples should see it as well, and accept their "permanent station in life". But seriously, here is a worthwhile history lesson:

http://www.youtube.com/embed/oIFfQqa32ic?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Joe Porreca , says: December 21, 2017 at 10:40 am
"Putin was not wrong to observe that the United States routinely exempted itself from any such [supposed post Cold War international] norms when it perceived its own vital interests to be at stake," states Dr. Bacevich, which suggests that there have been American foreign interventions since the end of the Cold War which have been in American vital interests. I don't know which interventions these might have been, but Putin has probably also observed that the U.S. feels free to intervene internationally even when its vital interests are not at stake.
stefan , says: December 21, 2017 at 11:04 am
I am in favor of American Empire, as it is probably the best thing going, compared to all other possible alternatives. However, in order to assert and enforce empire, Americans need to do the hard work of colonizing, of actually going there to instill their way of life, their values, their language, their know-how, their vision, their interests and control. The problem I see is that Americans are too unsure of themselves (too lazy, too decadent, too exhausted, too weak, and too unprepared) to make the sacrifices necessary to be really good colonizers, to be real leaders, and without this there can be no real Empire.
Hexexis , says: December 21, 2017 at 5:51 pm
"Donald Trump has charged, not without cause, that our allies are playing us for suckers."

Appears we've all but begged them to do so. Even if those allies commence paying "their fair share,"it's not clear how the US of A benefits. We'll still do their fighting & jack up the defense funding accordingly.

& If the Trump biz career is any example, he'll happily shell out $5 of tax money for every $1 we get in return. The NATO comic opera will not end its run even if those allies ceased playing us for suckers seconds after this post.

Fran Macadam , says: December 21, 2017 at 10:23 pm
"Americans need to do the hard work of colonizing, of actually going there to instill their way of life"

A new Hard Core SJW Peace Corps! That's the ticket. Unpaid interns for corporate consumerist capitalism! It's gonna be a hard sell, so hardball will be required. The full faith and credit of the United States Armed Forces, or less overt, the CIA and regime change?

Fran Macadam , says: December 21, 2017 at 10:28 pm
"The worrisome fact is both Russia and China have chosen the leaders and support their intentions. We change foreign policy as often as I change my underwear."

Deep State's durable foreign policy, which is always the de facto policy, is remarkably resilient no matter which political party is elected to fill the chairs. Elections and the will of the voters have virtually no influence on it, except in the tenor of the propaganda.

The designated enemies remain designated, no matter what any politician promises to get votes.

Fran Macadam , says: December 21, 2017 at 10:34 pm
"I am in favor of American Empire, as it is probably the best thing going"

This sentiment is only vicarious, unless you are of the tiny minority of Americans who benefit from the conflicts and deaths necessary to try to establish rule of one country's economic elites by subjugating every other nation's people.

Even so, only those bribed in dollars in foreign satrapies to be puppet leaders, would agree that it is the best of all possible worlds to be dominated by a foreign nation.

Terry Washington , says: December 22, 2017 at 5:56 am
I tend to agree with the critics of this article. Firstly was a promise allegedly made to Gorbachev by the Administration of Bush Senior(Republican) somehow binding on that of Bill Clinton(Democrat) and their successors (Bush Junior, Obama and Trump)? I think NOT!

Secondly the issue should be WHAT DO the former Soviet Republics and peoples of Eastern Europe want? If they wish to join NATO, then surely that is their right as free and independent sovereign states. Whether the Kremlin likes or lumps it is neither here or there. Contrary to what the likes of Nigel Farage (in my own country) may think, Eastern Europe is NOT some kind of dependency of Muscovy's in perpetuity!

Dieter Heymann , says: December 22, 2017 at 8:35 am
This article is fully consistent with what my family in Germany holds. NATO is needed to control a revival of dangerous German nationalism and relationships with Russia must be peaceful.
Tom Maertens , says: December 22, 2017 at 9:28 am
Bacevich seems to have missed Gorbachev's denial that there were any promises made on NATO expansion, and second, such commitments would have been to a country that ceased to exist prior to NATO expansion. Or does he think Europe still has commitments to the Austro-Hungarian Empire?

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2014/11/06/did-nato-promise-not-to-enlarge-gorbachev-says-no/

ScottA , says: December 22, 2017 at 11:16 am
I am amazed at all of the commenters who think expanding NATO up to the borders of Russia is a great idea. How would you like for Russia to form a military alliance with Mexico and for the Russian military to be conducting exercises along our southern border with Mexico?

If Russia attacks a member of NATO along its border that means that the US is at war with Russia which means a draft. Would any of the people who think NATO expansion is a great idea be willing to fight the Russians over Eastern Europe or have a member of their family go and fight?

Fighting the Russians on their own turf didn't work out to well for Napoleon and Hitler and I don't think it would work out for us too well either. We haven't been in a major war since World War 2 and I don't think our general population is ready for a big war with Russia.

The "safe space" generation is going to have a hard time fighting in the Russian winter. To think otherwise is foolhardy.

Tom Maertens , says: December 22, 2017 at 11:26 am
It is clear that Bacevich started with a political conclusion -- that Russia's sphere of influence encompasses all of Eastern Europe -- and then tried to muster historical/legal arguments to support that conclusion.

In the process, he has distorted history and left out anything that damages his conclusion. Among them:

The Russo-Ukraine border treaty of November 1990, signed by Yeltsin, guaranteed the existing borders between Russia and Ukraine;

There were also obligations under the COE, the OSCE and the UN Charter. Russia ignored all of those in forcibly annexing Crimea.

Lavrov later lied about the Budapest Memorandum, claiming it contained only one obligation, not to use nuclear weapons.

Here is the real story: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2016/01/28/mr-lavrov-russia-and-the-budapest-memorandum/

Mark VA , says: December 22, 2017 at 12:35 pm
Fair points, ScottA, but let's clarify your position:

(a) Should NATO defend Western Europe, if it is ever attacked by Russia? Alternately, are the people of Eastern Europe intrinsically different from Western Europeans? Retreating to the position that such an attack is unlikely is an evasion – so, da or nyet?

(b) It is true that Russia was attacked by Napoleon, and the USSR, while an ally of Nazi Germany, was then betrayed and attacked by Hitler. Does this give Russia today a right to a permanent sphere of influence in Eastern Europe? Da or nyet?

(c) If da, how would a Westerner make that case to Eastern Europeans? Please give it a try;

In my opinion, both NATO in the west and China's New Silk Roads (One Belt and One Road Initiative) in the east and south, exert a calming influence on any imperial stirrings of the Rulers of Muscovy. I also believe that the majority of the Russian people would prefer a peaceful and prosperous Russia, over momentary euphorias over this or that conquest;

What I admire about Russia is her spiritual and cultural powerhouse: Orthodox Liturgy and architecture, icons, chants, Sugar Plum Fairies, Brothers Karamazov, fairy tales – to mention just a random fraction of the Russian treasure. Imperialism, nyet.

[Dec 19, 2017] Mark Ames Kathy Lally Was Caught Trying To Censor Journalism In Russia and Now Deceitfully Claims She s a Victim naked capit

Notable quotes:
"... You see? Lally's gloating, smug colonialist triumphalism was the norm in expat circles. That was what we were fighting. And sometimes the outrage got out of control. But it's beyond grotesque that our outrage should be picked over for language crimes by a sloppy, inept, conscience-free writer like Lally. When the crimes of Western journalists during the Yeltsin era are chronicled, I kinda think it'll be the callous triumphalism with which she and her Clintonite buddies watched millions of Russians die that are condemned–not the tonal lapses of a low-budget dissident rag like eXile, shaking its puny fist at this corruption. ..."
"... "Each month thousands of Russians were dying prematurely. Such a drop in life expectancy, labeled 'excess deaths,' has always been a standard algorithm in demographers' calculations of the death toll of the great disasters -- whether Stalin's collectivization in the 1930s, Pol Pot's rule in Cambodia in the 1970s, or the famine in Ethiopia in the 1980s. American demographer Nicholas Eberstadt estimated that the number of 'excess deaths' in Russia between 1992 and 1998 was as high as 3 million. By contrast, Eberstadt observed, Russia's losses in World War 1 were 1.7 million deaths." ..."
Dec 19, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Tom , December 19, 2017 at 7:48 am

I lived in Moscow in the Nineties as well. I hugely enjoyed the Exile and read it whenever I had a chance to pick it up in some restaurant or night club.
Let us put is like that: in 1992 CNN was so scared that they actually paid an East German female friend of mine with tolerable Russian and less English to travel the subway!!!! Maybe in the US the subway tends to get even more dangerous when it is getting dangerous above ground. Well possible. In Moscow though the metro was always the safest place you could be. That is because the subway in Moscow is not just an ordinary means of getting from place to place. It is the marvel of the city, the pride of every citizen (rightly so) and the very last thing that would turn chaotic.

CNN insanely decided to not let their US employees check out the metro. And their employees didn´t object !!! Not surprisingly US journalism was bullshit. They had no idea of how ordinary people lived.

The Exile was the exact opposite. They lived like ordinary Muscovites and they knew what was really going on.

Mark Ames was referring to the default of 1998. I was earning money then a travelling engineer for a German tool machine factory. . How anybody in his right mind could believe that the then merry go round of paying for maturing bonds by issuing ever higher interest bonds (insanely high interest) could go on forever is beyond me. Everybody and his granny knew that this baby would go bust. In the German paper of record – the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung – their Moscow economic correspondent openly wrote about the coming default.

Why didn´t their US colleagues? The exception being the exile? Because they believed their own propaganda. And the reason they could believe it is because they lived in a secure, insulated bubble and as a rule had no or atrocious Russian.

Same like today. Nothing has changed. If you want to know what goes on in Russia don´t read the US press.

The Rev Kev , December 19, 2017 at 9:04 am

And this is what those journos missed by not going into the Moscow metro-
http://www.businessinsider.com/russian-metro-stations-look-like-palaces-2016-1/?r=AU&IR=T/#other-stations-have-less-cultural-significance-but-are-still-beautiful-like-moscows-taganskaya-metro-station-which-opened-in-1950-5

JBird , December 19, 2017 at 3:50 pm

My God, those stations are just otherworldly. Thank you for the link.

Michael Olenick , December 19, 2017 at 8:55 am

Great piece, Mark! I wrote a comment on the Washington Post piece I suspect nobody read. Even from Lally's hit job, and a little background research, I picked up that Lally was working to call out the censors. You shouldn't be so modest about your prior paper: the eXile did great work now and, I'm told by friends in the Moscow expat community, you remain the talk of the town, even if the town has settled down a lot lately. The WaPo should feel ashamed running that piece but, after deciding to, they should have approached you and Matt for a fact-check if not a rebuttal. That seems to be the way with a lot of older media though; the quality control hasn't just gone in the tank – it's been long since flushed – and they don't admit they're wrong even when the mistakes are blatant. It's why I'm pleased to write for and read NC (and thank you, Yves, for publishing this).

On the "sexism" related to her original allegations she's ignoring the context of Russia, especially back then. Even today Russia is not a quiet, politically correct kind of place. The choices available to American expat reporters during the Yeltsin and early Putin era was either try to sterilize, treat it like a zoo with the Russians starring as the animals, or contextualize and explain. Choosing that last option produced the most accurate reporting while infuriating the highfalutin our-shit-don't-stink "professional" American press corps. The gall of you and Matt to suggest the Russians aren't any worse obviously still stings, a decade after you last drank vodka while watching the river in Moscow.

masson , December 19, 2017 at 11:20 am

Lally complains about Taibbi being mean to her after she wrote a report in 1999 unironically starting a paragraph with "The latest affirmation of the anarchy that lies deep in the Russian soul " This just after shock therapy has killed millions of Russians. In this new screed she has the audacity to link to it.

I think she deserved every bit of scorn.

rusti , December 19, 2017 at 2:46 pm

You see? Lally's gloating, smug colonialist triumphalism was the norm in expat circles. That was what we were fighting. And sometimes the outrage got out of control. But it's beyond grotesque that our outrage should be picked over for language crimes by a sloppy, inept, conscience-free writer like Lally. When the crimes of Western journalists during the Yeltsin era are chronicled, I kinda think it'll be the callous triumphalism with which she and her Clintonite buddies watched millions of Russians die that are condemned–not the tonal lapses of a low-budget dissident rag like eXile, shaking its puny fist at this corruption.

I'm a bit underwhelmed by the explanation that many of the outrageous antics of eXile's authors could be classified as "fighting smug colonialist triumphalism" or "shaking its puny fist", but I can agree with the fundamental point that it is absolutely shocking that someone who lived through this:

"Each month thousands of Russians were dying prematurely. Such a drop in life expectancy, labeled 'excess deaths,' has always been a standard algorithm in demographers' calculations of the death toll of the great disasters -- whether Stalin's collectivization in the 1930s, Pol Pot's rule in Cambodia in the 1970s, or the famine in Ethiopia in the 1980s. American demographer Nicholas Eberstadt estimated that the number of 'excess deaths' in Russia between 1992 and 1998 was as high as 3 million. By contrast, Eberstadt observed, Russia's losses in World War 1 were 1.7 million deaths."

could walk away thinking that THEY were unfairly victimized. Ames and Brecher/Dolan are providing an extremely important service in highlighting similarly terrifying and shocking dynamics at work today with hacks like Michael Weiss broadcasting toxic garbage with a big megaphone that helps provide an intellectual veneer for the mass starvation of Yemeni children or sectarian death squads in Syria or a possible catastrophic war with Iran, so I hope people will continue to listen to them. The same goes for Taibbi in highlighting systematic racism and abuse of power by banks and lobbyists.

[Dec 19, 2017] Many in Russia believe that the US Treasury pushed Washington Consensus policies to weaken their country. The deep corruption of the Harvard University team chosen to "help" Russia in its transition, described in a detailed account published in 2006 by Institutional Investor, reinforced these beliefs.

Was it intelligence operation run by US and GB agencies with Harward economists as puppets?
Notable quotes:
"... Just look at what the West did to Iraq. Like Stiglitz I think it is more incompetence and ideology than a sinister plan to destroy Iraq and Russia. And we are reaping the results of that incompetence. ..."
"... "Too much [neo]liberal swamp gas" ..."
Dec 19, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

Peter K. , April 03, 2017 at 01:31 PM

PGL puts the blame on Yeltsin and this is what Stiglitz writes:

"I believe what we are confronting is partly the legacy of the flawed Washington Consensus that shaped Russia's transition. This framework's influences was reflected in the tremendous emphasis reformers placed on privatization, no matter how it was done, with speed taking precedence over everything else, including creating the institutional infrastructure needed to make a market economy work."

Larry Summers and Jeffrey Sachs were involved in this. It would be nice if they wrote mea culpas.

"Many in Russia believe that the US Treasury pushed Washington Consensus policies to weaken their country. The deep corruption of the Harvard University team chosen to "help" Russia in its transition, described in a detailed account published in 2006 by Institutional Investor, reinforced these beliefs.

I believe the explanation was less sinister: flawed ideas, even with the best of intentions, can have serious consequences. And the opportunities for self-interested greed offered by Russia were simply too great for some to resist. Clearly, democratization in Russia required efforts aimed at ensuring shared prosperity, not policies that led to the creation of an oligarchy."

Just look at what the West did to Iraq. Like Stiglitz I think it is more incompetence and ideology than a sinister plan to destroy Iraq and Russia. And we are reaping the results of that incompetence.

2008 was also incompetence, greed and ideology not some plot to push through "shock doctrines."

If the one percent were smart they would slowly cook the frog in the pot, where the frog doesn't notice, instead of having these crises which backfire.

pgl -> Peter K.... , April 03, 2017 at 04:30 PM
Nice cherry picking especially for someone who never read his chapter 5 of that great 1997 book.
libezkova -> pgl... , April 03, 2017 at 10:40 PM
The book is great, the article is junk. As Paine aptly said (in best Mark Twain style):

"Too much [neo]liberal swamp gas"

[Dec 19, 2017] Illiberal stagnation: Russia transition by Joseph E Stiglitz

Petty neoliberal bastard Joseph ;-) ...
Notable quotes:
"... I believe what we are confronting is partly the legacy of the flawed Washington Consensus that shaped Russia's transition. ..."
"... This framework's influences was reflected in the tremendous emphasis reformers placed on privatization, no matter how it was done, with speed taking precedence over everything else, including creating the institutional infrastructure needed to make a market economy work.... ..."
"... Once one of the world's two superpowers, Russia's GDP is now about 40% of Germany's and just over 50% of France's. Life expectancy at birth ranks 153rd in the world, just behind Honduras and Kazakhstan. ..."
"... My impression is that Andrei Shleifer was a marionette, a low level pawn in a big game. The fact that he was a greedy academic scum, who tried to amass a fortune in Russia probably under influence of his wife (his wife, a hedge fund manager, was GS alumnae and was introduced to him by Summers) is peripheral to the actual role he played. ..."
"... Jeffey Sacks also played highly negative role being the architect of "shock therapy": the sudden release of price and currency controls, withdrawal of state subsidies, and immediate trade liberalization within a country, usually also including large-scale privatization of previously public-owned assets. ..."
"... In other words "shock therapy" = "economic rape" ..."
"... "Many in Russia believe that the US Treasury pushed Washington Consensus policies to weaken their country. The deep corruption of the Harvard University team chosen to "help" Russia in its transition, described in a detailed account published in 2006 by Institutional Investor, reinforced these beliefs." ..."
"... This was not a corruption. This was the intent on Clinton administration. I would think about it as a planned operation. ..."
"... The key was that the gangster capitalism model was enforced by the Western "Washington consensus" (of which IMF was an integral part) -- really predatory set of behaviors designed to colonize Russia and make is US satellite much like Germany became after WWII but without the benefit of Marshall plan. ..."
"... My impression is that Clinton was and is a criminal. And he really proved to be a very capable mass murderer. And his entourage had found willing sociopaths within Russian society (as well as in other xUUSR republics; Ukraine actually fared worse then Russia as for the level of plunder) who implemented neoliberal policies. Yegor Gaidar was instrumental in enforcing Harvard-designed "shock therapy" on Russian people. He also create the main neoliberal party in Russia -- the Democratic Choice of Russia - United Democrats. Later in 1990s, it became the Union of Right Forces. ..."
"... Questionable figures from the West flowed into Russia and tried to exploit still weak law system by raiding the companies. Some of them were successful and amassed huge fortunes. Some ended being shot. Soros tried, but was threatened to be shot by Berezovsky and choose to leave for the good. ..."
"... It may eventually prove to be generous to describe Russia's misfortune as "the legacy of the flawed Washington Consensus that shaped Russia's transition" according to Stiglitz. It may prove rather to be "the legacy of *intentionally* flawed consensus". ..."
"... It was done according to the "expert" advice of deregulatin' Larry's gang from Harvard. ..."
"... Does deregulatin' Larry still have a job? Why? ..."
"... Yes PGL blames Yeltsin but it was the Western advisers who forced disastrous shock therapy on Russia. See the IMF, Europe and Greece for another example. No doubt PGL blames the Greeks. He always blames the victims. ..."
"... Suppose though the matter with privatization is not so much speed but not understanding what should not be subject to privatizing, such as soft and hard infrastructure. ..."
"... The persuasiveness of the Washington Consensus approach to development strikes me as especially well illustrated by the repeated, decades-long insistence by Western economists that Chinese development is about to come to a crashing end. The insistence continues with an almost daily repetition in the likes of The Economist or Financial Times. ..."
Apr 03, 2017 | www.project-syndicate.org

April 2, 2017

Illiberal stagnation: Russia transition by Joseph E Stiglitz

I believe what we are confronting is partly the legacy of the flawed Washington Consensus that shaped Russia's transition.

This framework's influences was reflected in the tremendous emphasis reformers placed on privatization, no matter how it was done, with speed taking precedence over everything else, including creating the institutional infrastructure needed to make a market economy work....

... ... ...

Once one of the world's two superpowers, Russia's GDP is now about 40% of Germany's and just over 50% of France's. Life expectancy at birth ranks 153rd in the world, just behind Honduras and Kazakhstan.

pgl , April 03, 2017 at 09:52 AM

Stiglitz returns to the issue of why post Soviet Union Russia has done so poorly in terms of economics:

"In terms of per capita income, Russia now ranks 73rd (in terms of purchasing power parity) – well below the Soviet Union's former satellites in Central and Eastern Europe. The country has deindustrialized: the vast majority of its exports now come from natural resources. It has not evolved into a "normal" market economy, but rather into a peculiar form of crony-state capitalism . Many had much higher hopes for Russia, and the former Soviet Union more broadly, when the Iron Curtain fell. After seven decades of Communism, the transition to a democratic market economy would not be easy. But, given the obvious advantages of democratic market capitalism to the system that had just fallen apart, it was assumed that the economy would flourish and citizens would demand a greater voice. What went wrong? Who, if anyone, is to blame? Could Russia's post-communist transition have been managed better? We can never answer such questions definitively: history cannot be re-run. But I believe what we are confronting is partly the legacy of the flawed Washington Consensus that shaped Russia's transition. This framework's influences was reflected in the tremendous emphasis reformers placed on privatization, no matter how it was done, with speed taking precedence over everything else, including creating the institutional infrastructure needed to make a market economy work. Fifteen years ago, when I wrote Globalization and its Discontents, I argued that this "shock therapy" approach to economic reform was a dismal failure. But defenders of that doctrine cautioned patience: one could make such judgments only with a longer-run perspective. Today, more than a quarter-century since the onset of transition, those earlier results have been confirmed, and those who argued that private property rights, once created, would give rise to broader demands for the rule of law have been proven wrong. Russia and many of the other transition countries are lagging further behind the advanced economies than ever. GDP in some transition countries is below its level at the beginning of the transition."

Stiglitz is not saying markets cannot work if the rules are properly constructed. He is saying that the Yeltsin rules were not as they were crony capitalism at their worse. And it seems the Putin rules are not much better. He mentions his 1997 book which featured as chapter 5 "Who Lost Russia". It still represents an excellent read.

RGC -> pgl... , April 03, 2017 at 10:11 AM
"Shleifer also met his mentor and professor, Lawrence Summers, during his undergraduate education at Harvard. The two went on to be co-authors, joint grant recipients, and faculty colleagues.[5]

During the early 1990s, Andrei Shleifer headed a Harvard project under the auspices of the Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) that invested U.S. government funds in the development of Russia's economy.

Schleifer was also a direct advisor to Anatoly Chubais, then vice-premier of Russia, who managed the Rosimushchestvo (Committee for the Management of State Property) portfolio and was a primary engineer of Russian privatization. Shleifer was also tasked with establishing a stock market for Russia that would be a world-class capital market.[14]

In 1996 complaints about the Harvard project led Congress to launch a General Accounting Office investigation, which stated that the Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) was given "substantial control of the U.S. assistance program."[15]

In 1997, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) canceled most of its funding for the Harvard project after investigations showed that top HIID officials Andre Schleifer and Johnathan Hay had used their positions and insider information to profit from investments in the Russian securities markets. Among other things, the Institute for a Law Based Economy (ILBE) was used to assist Schleifer's wife, Nancy Zimmerman, who operated a hedge fund which speculated in Russian bonds.[14]

In August 2005, Harvard University, Shleifer and the Department of Justice reached an agreement under which the university paid $26.5 million to settle the five-year-old lawsuit. Shleifer was also responsible for paying $2 million worth of damages, though he did not admit any wrongdoing

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrei_Shleifer

RGC -> RGC... , April 03, 2017 at 10:26 AM
Awards:

John Bates Clark Medal (1999)

"He has held a tenured position in the Department of Economics at Harvard University since 1991 and was, from 2001 through 2006, the Whipple V. N. Jones Professor of Economics."

libezkova said in reply to RGC... , April 03, 2017 at 08:18 PM
My impression is that Andrei Shleifer was a marionette, a low level pawn in a big game. The fact that he was a greedy academic scum, who tried to amass a fortune in Russia probably under influence of his wife (his wife, a hedge fund manager, was GS alumnae and was introduced to him by Summers) is peripheral to the actual role he played.

Jeffey Sacks also played highly negative role being the architect of "shock therapy": the sudden release of price and currency controls, withdrawal of state subsidies, and immediate trade liberalization within a country, usually also including large-scale privatization of previously public-owned assets.

In other words "shock therapy" = "economic rape"

As Anne Williamson said: "Instead, after robbing the Russian people of the only capital they had to participate in the new market – the nation's household savings – by freeing prices in what was a monopolistic economy and which delivered a 2500% inflation in 1992, America's "brave, young Russian reformers" ginned-up a development theory of "Big Capitalism" based on Karl Marx's mistaken edict that capitalism requires the "primitive accumulation of capital". Big capitalists would appear instantly, they said, and a broadly-based market economy shortly thereafter if only the pockets of pre-selected members of their own ex-Komsomol circle were properly stuffed. Those who hankered for a public reputation were to secure the government perches from which they would pass state assets to their brethren in the nascent business community, happy in the knowledge that they too would be kicked back a significant cut of the swag. The US-led West accommodated the reformers' cockeyed theory by designing a rapid and easily manipulated voucher privatization program that was really only a transfer of title and which was funded with $325 million US taxpayers' dollars. "

See also http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Pseudoscience/harvard_mafia.shtml

libezkova said in reply to RGC... , April 03, 2017 at 07:51 PM
From the article:

"Many in Russia believe that the US Treasury pushed Washington Consensus policies to weaken their country. The deep corruption of the Harvard University team chosen to "help" Russia in its transition, described in a detailed account published in 2006 by Institutional Investor, reinforced these beliefs."

This was not a corruption. This was the intent on Clinton administration. I would think about it as a planned operation.

The key was that the gangster capitalism model was enforced by the Western "Washington consensus" (of which IMF was an integral part) -- really predatory set of behaviors designed to colonize Russia and make is US satellite much like Germany became after WWII but without the benefit of Marshall plan.

Clinton consciously chose this criminal policy among alternatives: kick the lying body. So after Russian people get rid of corrupt and degraded Communist regime, they got under the iron hill of US gangsters from Clinton administration.

My impression is that Clinton was and is a criminal. And he really proved to be a very capable mass murderer. And his entourage had found willing sociopaths within Russian society (as well as in other xUUSR republics; Ukraine actually fared worse then Russia as for the level of plunder) who implemented neoliberal policies. Yegor Gaidar was instrumental in enforcing Harvard-designed "shock therapy" on Russian people. He also create the main neoliberal party in Russia -- the Democratic Choice of Russia - United Democrats. Later in 1990s, it became the Union of Right Forces.

http://www.vdare.com/posts/the-rape-of-russia-explained-by-anne-williamson

== quote ==

Testimony of Anne Williamson

Before the Committee on Banking and Financial Services of the United States House of Representatives

September 21, 1999


In the matter before us – the question of the many billions in capital that fled Russia to Western shores via the Bank of New York and other Western banks – we have had a window thrown open on what the financial affairs of a country without property rights, without banks, without the certainty of contract, without an accountable government or a leadership decent enough to be concerned with the national interest or its own citizens' well-being looks like. It's not a pretty picture, is it? But let there be no mistake, in Russia the West has truly been the author of its own misery. And there is no mistake as to who the victims are, i.e. Western, principally U.S., taxpayers and Russian citizens' whose national legacy was stolen only to be squandered and/or invested in Western real estate and equities markets

... ... ...
== end of quote ==

A lot of people, especially pensioners, died because of Clinton's gangster policies in xUUSR space.

I am wondering how Russian managed to survive as an independent country. The USA put tremendous efforts and resources in destruction of Russian economy and colonizing its by creating "fifth column" on neoliberal globaliozation.

all those criminal oligarchs hold moved their capitals to the West as soon as they can because they were afraid of the future. Nobody persecuted them and Western banks helped to extract money from Russia to the extent that some of their methods were clearly criminals.

Economic devastation was comparable with caused by Nazi armies, although amount of dead was less, but also in millions.

Questionable figures from the West flowed into Russia and tried to exploit still weak law system by raiding the companies. Some of them were successful and amassed huge fortunes. Some ended being shot. Soros tried, but was threatened to be shot by Berezovsky and choose to leave for the good.

Especially hard hit was military industrial complex, which was oversized in any case, but which was an integral part of Soviet economy and employed many highly qualified specialists. Many of whom later emigrated to the West. At some point it was difficult to find physics department in the US university without at least a single person from xUSSR space (not necessary a Russian)

paine -> DrDick ... , April 03, 2017 at 04:22 PM
Too much liberal swamp gas
libezkova said in reply to paine... , April 03, 2017 at 09:33 PM
"Too much [neo]liberal swamp gas"

this is almost Mark Twain's level quote :-).

anne -> paine... , April 03, 2017 at 06:20 PM
But I would conjecture the Deng path trumps the Yeltsin path

[ Really? Would the conjecture rest on growth of real Gross Domestic Product in China averaging 9.6% yearly while growth of real per capita GDP averaged 8.6% yearly these last 40 years? ]

anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 06:22 PM
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cacK

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China and Russia, 1990-2015

(Percent change)


https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cacO

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China and Russia, 1990-2015

(Indexed to 1990)

anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 06:27 PM
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cacQ

November 1, 2014

Total Factor Productivity at Constant National Prices for China and Russia, 1990-2014


https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cacR

November 1, 2014

Total Factor Productivity at Constant National Prices for China and Russia, 1990-2014

(Indexed to 1990)

libezkova said in reply to paine... , April 03, 2017 at 08:28 PM
"But i'd conjecture the Deng path trumps the yeltsin path"

True.

anne -> paine... , April 04, 2017 at 07:52 AM
But I would conjecture the Deng Xiaoping path trumps the Boris Yeltsin path

[ What then is the point of such a conjecture when real per capita GDP in Russia grew a mere 15.8% from 1990 through 2015 while in China real per capita grew by a remarkable 789.1%?

Total factor productivity in Russia decreased by 16.9% from 1990 through 2014, while in China total factor productivity increased by 76.4%.

The inability to understand what China has accomplished is shocking to me. Possibly, rethinking fairly is in order. ]

point -> pgl... , April 03, 2017 at 06:28 PM
It may eventually prove to be generous to describe Russia's misfortune as "the legacy of the flawed Washington Consensus that shaped Russia's transition" according to Stiglitz. It may prove rather to be "the legacy of *intentionally* flawed consensus".
anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 10:01 AM
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_Consensus

The term Washington Consensus was coined in 1989 by English economist John Williamson to refer to a set of 10 relatively specific economic policy prescriptions that he considered constituted the "standard" reform package promoted for crisis-wracked developing countries by Washington, D.C.–based institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, and the US Treasury Department. The prescriptions encompassed policies in such areas as macroeconomic stabilization, economic opening with respect to both trade and investment, and the expansion of market forces within the domestic economy.

Fiscal policy discipline, with avoidance of large fiscal deficits relative to GDP;

Redirection of public spending from subsidies toward broad-based provision of key pro-growth, pro-poor services like primary education, primary health care and infrastructure investment;

Tax reform, broadening the tax base and adopting moderate marginal tax rates;

Interest rates that are market determined and positive (but moderate) in real terms;

Competitive exchange rates;

Trade liberalization: liberalization of imports, with particular emphasis on elimination of quantitative restrictions (licensing, etc.); any trade protection to be provided by low and relatively uniform tariffs;

Liberalization of inward foreign direct investment;

Privatization of state enterprises;

Deregulation: abolition of regulations that impede market entry or restrict competition, except for those justified on safety, environmental and consumer protection grounds, and prudential oversight of financial institutions;

Legal security for property rights.

pgl -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 10:18 AM
"privatization, no matter how it was done, with speed taking precedence over everything else".

It does matter how it is done as Stiglitz, Dani Rodrik, and even that ProMarket blog often point out. It was done very poorly under Yeltsin.

RGC -> pgl... , April 03, 2017 at 10:34 AM
It was done according to the "expert" advice of deregulatin' Larry's gang from Harvard.
RGC -> RGC... , April 03, 2017 at 10:46 AM
Does deregulatin' Larry still have a job? Why?
Peter K. -> RGC... , April 03, 2017 at 01:24 PM
"It was done according to the "expert" advice of deregulatin' Larry's gang from Harvard."

Yes PGL blames Yeltsin but it was the Western advisers who forced disastrous shock therapy on Russia. See the IMF, Europe and Greece for another example. No doubt PGL blames the Greeks. He always blames the victims.

Peter K. -> Peter K.... , April 03, 2017 at 01:33 PM
PGL blames Yeltsin but even Stiglitz writes that it was the Washington Consensus which was to blame for the poor transition and disastrous collapse of Russia. Now we are reaping the consequences. Just like with Syria, ISIL and Iraq.
pgl -> Peter K.... , April 03, 2017 at 04:27 PM
WTF? The IMF may have given bad advice but Yeltsin ran the show. And if you think Yeltsin was the victim - then you are really lost.

"No doubt PGL blames the Greeks."

You do lie 24/7. Pathetic.

anne -> pgl... , April 03, 2017 at 11:15 AM
Suppose though the matter with privatization is not so much speed but not understanding what should not be subject to privatizing, such as soft and hard infrastructure.
anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 10:46 AM
That a Washington Consensus approach to Russian development proved obviously faulty is important because I would argue the approach has repeatedly proved faulty from Brazil to South Africa to the Philippines... When the consensus has been turned away from as in Brazil for several years the development results have dramatically changed but turning from the approach which allows for severe concentrations of wealth has proved politically difficult as we find now in Brazil.
anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 10:48 AM
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cad0

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Russia, 1990-2015

(Percent change)


https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cacX

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Russia, 1990-2015

(Indexed to 1990)

anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 10:55 AM
The range in real per capita GDP growth from 1990 to 2015 extends from 15.8% to 19.8% to 41.1% to 223.1% to 789.1%. This range needs to be thoroughly analyzed in terms of reflective policy.
anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 10:49 AM
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cad4

November 1, 2014

Total Factor Productivity at Constant National Prices for China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Russia, 1990-2014

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cad7

November 1, 2014

Total Factor Productivity at Constant National Prices for China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Russia, 1990-2014

(Indexed to 1990)

anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 11:00 AM
The range in total factor productivity growth or decline from 1990 to 2014 extends from a decline of - 16.9% to - 12.2% to - 5.1% to growth of 40.9% and 76.4%. Again, this range needs to be thoroughly analyzed in terms of reflective policy.
anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 11:10 AM
The persuasiveness of the Washington Consensus approach to development strikes me as especially well illustrated by the repeated, decades-long insistence by Western economists that Chinese development is about to come to a crashing end. The insistence continues with an almost daily repetition in the likes of The Economist or Financial Times.

I would suggest the success of China thoroughly studied provides us with remarkable policy prescriptions.

[Dec 17, 2017] Sorry Chump. You Didn't Have It In Writing by Eric Margolis

Notable quotes:
"... And even IF Gorbachev would have had it in writing, it would not have made a bit of difference. ..."
"... There is, actually, no excuse for Gorbachev's giving away the store without an iron-clad treaty, ratified in both the USSR and the USA. ..."
"... The US has threatened the USSR/Russia since 1918 when the UK, USA and their allies including Australia invaded from 7 different directions in a 3 year campaign. ..."
"... That combined with US subversion and no doubt bribes and false promises leads to only one conclusion. Russia has good reason to be afraid of America. ..."
"... Maybe capitalism is the foundation of the problem, but the framework is militarism, weapons production and sales, attacking people around the world, spying on everyone, and imprisoning the underclass to keep them from attacking the wealthy. Take away those structural elements and the US will collapse. ..."
"... Are we not aware that the US foreign policy is by and for the economic benefit of Wall Street? Lies are the norm to hide WS involvement. National security is a scam to hide lies. ..."
"... Handing the territories of the USSR over to the US on a handshake, that is what Gorbachev will be known for. It was no mistake. ..."
"... The present demonization of Putin has been mainly continuation of business as usual. But Putin has stood up to the interests behind the IMF, the FED, the BIS, etc., making him a hero to the entire educated world. Maybe one day soon America will join the educated world. One can only hope. ..."
"... How could any nation trust the USA who has broken every treaty they have agreed to! England all through history has coveted Russia for their vast natural resources. England has always been a wicked nation. ..."
Dec 17, 2017 | Information Clearing House "

At a time when the United States is convulsed by anti-Russian hysteria and demonization of Vladimir Putin, a trove of recently declassified Cold War documents reveals the astounding extent of the lies, duplicity and double-dealing engaged in by the western powers with the collapsing Soviet Union in 1990. I was covering Moscow in those days and met some of the key players in this sordid drama. Ever since, I've been writing that the Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Foreign Minister, Eduard Shevardnadze, were shamelessly lied to and deceived by the United States, Britain, and their appendage, NATO.

All the western powers promised Gorbachev and Shevardnadze that NATO would not expand eastward by 'one inch' if Moscow would pull the Red Army out of East Germany and allow it to peacefully reunify with West Germany. This was a titanic concession by Gorbachev: it led to a failed coup against him in 1991 by Communist hardliners.

The documents released by George Washington University in Washington DC, which I attended for a semester, make sickening reading (see them online). All western powers and statesmen assured the Russians that NATO would not take advantage of the Soviet retreat and that a new era of amity and cooperation would dawn in post-Cold War Europe. US Secretary of State Jim Baker offered 'ironclad guarantees' there would be no NATO expansion. Lies, all lies. Gorbachev was a humanist, a very decent, intelligent man who believed he could end the Cold War and nuclear arms race. He ordered the Red Army back from Eastern Europe.

I was in Wunsdorf, East Germany, HQ of the Group of Soviet Forces, Germany, and at Stasi secret police HQ in East Berlin right after the pullout order was given. The Soviets withdrew their 338,000 troops and 4,200 tanks and sent them home at lightening speed. Western promises made to Soviet leaders by President George W. H. Bush and Jim Baker quickly proved to be empty. They were honorable men but their successors were not. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush quickly began moving NATO into Eastern Europe, violating all the pledges made to Moscow. The Poles, Hungarians and Czechs were brought into NATO, then Romania and Bulgaria, the Baltic States, Albania, and Montenegro. Washington tried to get the former Soviet Republics of Georgia and Ukraine into NATO. The Moscow-aligned government of Ukraine was overthrown in a US-engineered coup. The road to Moscow was open.

All the bankrupt, confused Russians could do was denounce these eastward moves by the US and NATO. The best response NATO and Washington could come up with was, 'well, there was no official written promise.' This is worthy of a street peddler selling counterfeit watches. The leaders of the US, Britain, France, Belgium and Italy all lied. Germany was caught between its honor and imminent reunification. So even its Chancellor Helmut Kohl had to go along with the West's prevarications.

At the time, I wrote that the best solution would be for the demilitarization of formerly Soviet-controlled Eastern Europe. NATO had no need or business to expand eastward. Doing so would be a constant provocation to Russia, which regarded Eastern Europe as an essential defensive glacis against invasions from the West. Now, with NATO forces on its western borders, Russia's deepest fears have been realized. Today, US military aircraft based on the coasts of Romania and Bulgaria, former Warsaw Pact members, probe Russian airspace over the Black Sea and the vital strategic port of Sevastopol. Washington talks about arming chaotic Ukraine. US and NATO troops are in the Baltic, on Russia's northwestern borders. Polish right-wingers are beating the war drums against Russia. In 1990, KGB and CIA agreed to the principal of 'not one inch' eastward for NATO.

Former US ambassador to Moscow, Jack Matlock, confirms the same agreement. Gorbachev, who is denounced as a foolish idealist by many Russians, trusted the Western powers. He should have had a battalion of New York City garment district shyster lawyers to document his agreements in 1990. He thought he was dealing with honest, honorable men, like himself. Is it any wonder after this bait and switch diplomacy that Russia has no trust in the Western powers? Moscow watches US-run NATO oozing ever eastwards. Today, Russia's leaders firmly believe Washington's ultimate plan is to tear apart Russia and reduce it to an impotent, pauper nation.

Two former Western leaders, Napoleon and Hitler, had similar plans. Instead of carrying on about Hitler's duplicity after Munich, we should look at our own shameless behavior after 1990. Eric S. Margolis is an award-winning, internationally syndicated columnist. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune the Los Angeles Times, Times of London, the Gulf Times, the Khaleej Times, Nation – Pakistan, Hurriyet, – Turkey, Sun Times Malaysia and other news sites in Asia. https://ericmargolis.com

Mark A. Goldman · 7 hours ago

There are enough articles at this website in any one week or month for one to realize we do not live in a free country being led by people who intend to keep their oath of office.

... ... ...

Socrates pointed out that only honorable men can ever find true happiness. But that insight only points out what necessary for happiness to occur, but not what is sufficient. Freedom is also necessary, for in the absence of freedom people are prevented from living honorably.

Honor requires the courage to tell the truth and live in alignment with the truth. And without that, dignity too is lost. And what about compassion. And what about love. All of that will be lost to our posterity if we are unable to gain our freedom. And we will not gain our freedom without striving for it with every ounce of courage and intelligence we can find within us.

isabellainecuador 93p · 5 hours ago
Very well said. I have been saying as much for some time. Only President Putin actually lives by those aphorisms. I shall visit your website. Thank you
Vera Gottlieb · 6 hours ago
And even IF Gorbachev would have had it in writing, it would not have made a bit of difference.
guest · 6 hours ago
Exactly! And Gorbachev was clearly a fool to have taken up US/Nato on a gentleman's promise. It is equally probable he was bought off or was an absolute dunce.
LITCHFIELD · 2 hours ago
There is, actually, no excuse for Gorbachev's giving away the store without an iron-clad treaty, ratified in both the USSR and the USA.

It took years to get a treaty between Hungary and romania.
It took years to get a treaty between Ukraine and Romania.
It took years for Romania and other Eastern Bloc countries to be accedted into NATO. There were numerous contingencies to be satisfied.

And Gorbachev just says, "OK, Whatever you say, I believe you! It does not wash.

JGarbo · 1 hour ago
Gorbachev was no fool. He knew the West's promises were nothing, but he also knew his country was bankrupt. He gave Russia a breathing space, which after the pillage under Yeltsin, has proved beneficial.
bozhidar balkas · 6 hours ago
Vera,

That's fair an assumption

Fritz666 · 6 hours ago
LOLOLOL..this is about as bogus as it gets. Russian leadership is no more affraid of the U.S. than they are of a street thug.
Fitzhenrymac 127p · 5 hours ago
The US has threatened the USSR/Russia since 1918 when the UK, USA and their allies including Australia invaded from 7 different directions in a 3 year campaign.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allied_intervention...

Then there was the 1945 dropping of the atomic bombs in Nagasaki and Hiroshima which were more to threaten the Soviets than Japan.

Immediately following that was the occupation of South Korea and the stationing of more atomic bombs there.

But the real clincher was the stationing of nuclear weapons in NATO countries right on the border of the Soviet Union. The huge, highly realistic and nuclear armed Abel Archer war games in 1983, not only nearly caused an actual nuclear war but also caused many in the Soviet leadership to believe that resistance beyond its own borders against America was a zero sum game.

That combined with US subversion and no doubt bribes and false promises leads to only one conclusion. Russia has good reason to be afraid of America.

participant2943 89p · 3 hours ago
Yes, Russia has good reason to be afraid of the US on two fronts -- 1 - US terrorism and 2 - imposition of depraved and destructive US political ideologies.
Cameron · 6 hours ago
The enemy here is capitalism -- Russia (and China) pose threats to the dominance of U.S. capital and therefore are demonized and lied to and for that matter treated in any manner conducive to the continued dominance of U.S. capital. This is the nature of capitalist relations between nations in its imperialist stage. It is a race to the death to crown the chief exploiter and manipulator of collective human labor and the commodities it produces. In this stage of capitalism if it isn't the U.S. who is scheming to rule it would be another. The only solution is to put an end to the rule of capital.
participant2943 89p · 3 hours ago
Maybe capitalism is the foundation of the problem, but the framework is militarism, weapons production and sales, attacking people around the world, spying on everyone, and imprisoning the underclass to keep them from attacking the wealthy. Take away those structural elements and the US will collapse.

Death and destruction are the only visible supports for the US as a "country". Other countries are busily caring for refugees, addressing fossil fuel and methane gas damage, providing health care, and advancing science and the arts. Not the US. The US today is weapons + carnage +threatening other countries + internal political collapse.

olde reb · 5 hours ago
Are we not aware that the US foreign policy is by and for the economic benefit of Wall Street? Lies are the norm to hide WS involvement. National security is a scam to hide lies.

John Stinnett used the FOIA to obtain government documents that established FDR developed a 17 month agenda with his Wall Street cronies to impose sanctions on Japan to force the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Japanese codes were easily broken. WW One was also another false flag operation to prevent default on huge loans WS had made to European nations.

You might also consult with John Perkin's CONFESSIONS OF AN ECONOMIC HIT MAN that details his (concealed) employment by Wall Street to set up international loans with sovereign nations designed to go into default using their control of the IMF and WB with enforcement by the CIA and the US military. cf. Michel Chossudovsky's GLOBALIZATION OF POVERTY and his GLOBALIZATION OF WAR.

For details on how one of the first arrangements with the CIA and Wall Street was arranged by Allen Dulles, even before he was appointed Director of the CIA, you might read DEVILS CHESSBOARD by Stephen Kinzer, THE BROTHERS by David Talbot, or CIA AS ORGANIZED CRIME by Douglass Valentine. Writings by Fletcher Prouty, Antony Sutton, Nomi Prins, and many more are available. Let me know when you have finished these.

Even professor Michael Hudson has written that Wall Street's (Goldman Sachs) objective in Greece is to destroy the nation. http://farmwars.info/?p=12078 NEW WORLD ORDER DEAD AHEAD

Crosswinds · 5 hours ago
"H.W. BUSH AND JAMES BAKER" were "HONORABLE MEN?" (DECEIT/TREACHERY/DUPLICITY
is their common core nature.)
Edcdecedc · 4 hours ago
Handing the territories of the USSR over to the US on a handshake, that is what Gorbachev will be known for. It was no mistake. Gorbachev, Yeltsin and Putin are pieces of the same $hit.
Chas · 3 hours ago
Not the sharpest knife in the draw are you! But then history is not taught extensively in US schools, is it! Stop embarrassing yourself, child!
Tobey Llop · 2 hours ago
It's hard for me to consider that the Russians didn't assume the Americans were lying. By withdrawing troops from a pointless deployment, they were saving resources. It was a spiritual step up for the Russians. Since then, the Russian economy has improved substantially.

The American government is, by my research, basically a puppet to the banking cabal that has been profiting from wars since the 1700's.

They were behind and profited from the Russian revolution, the American Civil War, both world wars, the Cold War, the annexation of Palestine for a Zionist state, and now present efforts to start a third world war, be it Syria, Iraq, Libya, or wherever trouble can be stirred.

The present demonization of Putin has been mainly continuation of business as usual. But Putin has stood up to the interests behind the IMF, the FED, the BIS, etc., making him a hero to the entire educated world. Maybe one day soon America will join the educated world. One can only hope.

vicenr · 3 hours ago
The part of the story missing is what happened next? Hungary, Czech Republic and now Poland are a bit miffed at the way things have gone. Other than turn their nations into a door mat that NATO and Russia fight upon what did they get?

They got a missile launching pad that if war breaks out will be targeted and most likely destroyed. They got an EU that if it resembles anything, it most closely represents the old Supreme Soviet. Naw. This story has just begun.

Jim · 3 hours ago
How could any nation trust the USA who has broken every treaty they have agreed to! England all through history has coveted Russia for their vast natural resources. England has always been a wicked nation.
Yury · 1 hour ago
Usually articles by Eric Margolis have more substance and are more objective. First, even today the US cooperates with Russia on several fronts. Today Putin called Trump to thank him for supplying to Russia by CIA of Info that led to the arrest of several Islamist terrorists who wanted to explode a bomb in St. Petersburg. Clear example of cooperation.

As far as the promise to Gorbachev of not expanding NATO eastward, it was made to the leader of the Soviet Union not the leader of Russia. When the Soviet Union collapsed, such promise simply had no longer any effect since the country to which it was made no longer existed.

Still the US and other western countries didn't want to expand NATO until Yeltsin agreed to its expansion to Poland in August 1993 as reported for example in NYT http://www.nytimes.com/1993/08/26/world/yeltsin-u...

In that article, by the way, it is stated that even then there were big problems between Russia and Ukraine. So to repeat all the time that the "government of Ukraine was overthrown in a US-engineered coup" is something I didn't expect from Margolis.

Barberry37 77p · 35 minutes ago
<<....the United States is convulsed...>>

I hardly think so Mr. Margolis. I would say that probably 98% of the population of Canada and the USA are totally comatose and probably won't even hear the Last Trumpet

[Dec 17, 2017] Newly-Declassified Documents Show Western Leaders Promised Gorbachev that NATO Would Not Move One Inch Closer to Russia by George Washington

Notable quotes:
"... By George Washington. Originally published at Washington's Blog ..."
"... When Russian Supreme Soviet deputies came to Brussels to see NATO and meet with NATO secretary-general Manfred Woerner in July 1991, Woerner told the Russians that "We should not allow [ ] the isolation of the USSR from the European community." According to the Russian memorandum of conversation, " Woerner stressed that the NATO Council and he are against the expansion of NATO (13 of 16 NATO members support this point of view)." (See Document 30) ..."
"... Thus, Gorbachev went to the end of the Soviet Union assured that the West was not threatening his security and was not expanding NATO ..."
"... IIRC, the U.S. has, historically, not lived up to one treaty in its entire existence. Quite a remarkable accomplishment, no? Methinks the chickens are coming home to roost, yes? ..."
"... Trump's doubts about NATO, including his demands that European members pay more, are presented as evidence (it is hinted) of his collusion with the evil Putin. ..."
"... History is bunk, as ol' Henry Ford said: Americans live in the eternal now. Our PDS (Putin Derangement System) journos insist that Putin is bad to the bone, as all Russkis are, and there's just no reason for it except for their dark slavic hearts which contrast so painfully with our bright pure red white 'n blue ones. :-( ..."
"... first draft of history ..."
"... Zero acknowledgement by any of the deep permastate types that the consent of the governed is even necessary. We the people are simply the bobbleheads to be manipulated by the lying sociopaths in power. ..."
"... Any thing like this pretty much ignores the fact that all of the Visegad four (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary) were pushing VERY strongly to get included in NATO, as for them at the time it was the one clear signal that they are not in the USSRs zone of dominion any more. Anything else would just not do ..."
"... The EU has been willing to say "no" to the much more geographically important Turkey for decades. Why does Poland have more clout? ..."
"... the whole treatment of Russia as a beaten country (when they very clearly didn't feel like that) was beyong stupid, it was , and the West should have learned from history (how it ended with Germany post WW1). ..."
"... My point is that way too often I have seen this as "America does this, America does that" – without considering the wider picture. Yes, ultimately it was US decision (because they could have just keep saying no, although polish minority in the US is large – it's larger than Jewish, although I suspect there is an overlap. Also, Albright was born in Czechoslovakia and emigrated after the communist takeover, so there you go, she might have played a role in turning Clinton around) – but it wasn't that they were rushing to do it from day 0 and forcing the V4 to get into NATO just to do one over Russia. ..."
"... I suspect one of the reasons they actually agreed to it in the end was because they thought Russia was done for (who in the world cared for Russia in 1995-1998? Apart from looters, that is, both foreign and domestic), and NATO was just a fomality that would be gone in a decade. ..."
"... My point is that way too often I have seen this as "America does this, America does that" – without considering the wider picture Also, Albright was born in Czechoslovakia and emigrated after the communist takeover, so there you go, she might have played a role in turning Clinton around) – but it wasn't that they were rushing to do it from day 0 and forcing the V4 to get into NATO just to do one over Russia. ..."
"... who in the world cared for Russia in 1995-1998? Apart from looters, that is, both foreign and domestic ..."
"... "Russia is finished" ..."
"... WW2 was "won" by Russia defeating Germany, while losing 30 million people. The US "won" WW2 by bombing a quarter million citizens at Hiroshima/Nagasake, while losing maybe 250,000 soldiers in the total war effort.. ..."
"... Gentlemen prefer jackboots ? ..."
"... The U.S. and its allies made a set of commitments to Gorbachev, and then Bill Clinton broke those promises. Full stop. Bush then doubled down. Obama and Trump added Albania, Croatia and Montenegro because I guess it's now a required machismo ritual. (interestinng coincidence that accessions just happened to be scheduled for the first six months after open-seat Presidential elections, no?) The consequences of those decisions are the responsibility of the inhabitants of the White House, and no one else's. ..."
"... The recent history, with savage civil wars in Yugoslavia, Moldavia and Ukraine, shows that there are enough wacky people imbued with detestation for their neighbours to overwhelm the sane ones. Echoes of what some Ukrainian groups tell about e.g. Poles make me think we should be wary of those old grievances. ..."
"... A century ago, Russians had a positive image amongst Eastern Europeans (except Poles). The ones who were the target of contempt and detestation were the Austrians and the Turks. Perhaps the next generation will have entirely forgotten about the Russians of the Warsaw Pact, the COMECON and the "limited sovereignty". ..."
"... Lost in your one-sided account of the brave Hungarians is the fact that a non-trivial contingent of those invading the USSR during the Second World War were Hungarians. There were a lot of fascists in Hungary, and no joke about it, and they willingly participated in the invasion. ..."
"... Instead the western powers got greedy, expanded up the the Russian border, lined it with Special Forces formations and future nuclear first-strike-missiles and holds NATO tank parades literally blocks away from the Russian border. Epic fail that. ..."
"... Nice thought but the military industry can't have peace and harmony. NATO was very quick to start talking about Islam as the next threat after the fall of the Soviet Union. ..."
"... The entrenched USG neocons will foster a demonization of Putin (and Russia) until they achieve WWIII; but an objective evaluation of Russian superiority in weapons suggests that theirs is a suicide mission. Peruse the saga of the USS Donald Cook in the Black Sea, and the US military fear of Soviet defense missile systems, to understand. ..."
"... except that it wasn't as bad as its immediate successor. ..."
"... the reneging of Baker's promise + regime change in Iraq + regime change in Libya + near regime change in Syria demonstrate to everyone outside of Nato that the US/the West can't be trusted to honor international law -- regardless of the administration (Dem or Rep). And other countries will act accordingly ..."
"... In the book "Who Lost Russia", the author, Peter Conradi, mentions a political lobby group funded by the defense contractors to promote NATO expansion to the East in the 1990s. Does anyone have information concerning this group and its influence? ..."
"... By the late 90s, with Yeltsin in charge, Russian opposition was less of an issue. In the end, NATO stumbled into enlargement, telling itself that it would be confined to the V3/4 and that would be it. But as a number of us pointed out at the time, once you start, there's no logical point at which you stop. And so Ukraine. ..."
"... tell it to the American Natives (Indians). The US lies to eveyone to gain land and leverage. ..."
"... Another problem, and much more significant one, was that Russia adopted capitalist at the very unfortunate moment of the domination of neoliberalism which led to many catastrophic decisions. ..."
"... I find it hard to believe that Gorbachev, or indeed anyone in international politics, would trust the US government or US ruling class absent some sort of material verification, guarantees, even hostages. That requires some explanation. ..."
"... The Warsaw Pact was USSR military colonialism. NATO was US military colonialism. What does an imperial power do when its "enemy" vacates a space, asking for neutrality? It takes over, demanding tribute. The tribute in this case was neoliberalism, to the benefit of US business, especially the MIC. ..."
Dec 16, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on December 15, 2017 by Yves Smith Yves here. This is a more purely geopolitical piece than we normally run. The reason for featuring it is that this bit of history is vital to understanding current US/Russian relations.

Even though experts have acknowledged that Secretary of State James Baker promised Mikhail Gorbachev that the Western powers would not move NATO into former Warsaw Pact countries, they claimed that the Russians were naive to have taken this promise as meaningful. The argument went that the US regarded only obligations committed to writing as binding, while the Soviets regarded firm, unambiguous statement by parties authorized to negotiate as commitments.

As the post below describes in detail, the Russians have more basis for feeling abused by the US and its allies than the US defense above indicates. Not only did Baker repeat his "not one inch eastward" declaration on three separate occasions, many national leaders and top-level diplomats in NATO countries, such as Maggie Thatcher, Helmut Kohl, and Francois Mitterand, both affirmed that they would respect the security interests of the former USSR and would also involve it in European "security structures."

And as we've said repeatedly, when the Clinton Administration broke these commitments by moving NATO eastward in 1997, cold warrior George Kennan predicted that it would be the worst geopolitical mistake the US ever made.

By George Washington. Originally published at Washington's Blog

The U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union at the time it broke up and many other experts have said that the West promised Gorbachev that – if the USSR allowed German re-unification – NATO wouldn't move "one inch closer" to Russia.

While Western leaders have long denied the promise, newly-declassified documents now prove this.

The National Security Archive at George Washington University reported Tuesday:

U.S. Secretary of State James Baker's famous "not one inch eastward" assurance about NATO expansion in his meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on February 9, 1990, was part of a cascade of assurances about Soviet security given by Western leaders to Gorbachev and other Soviet officials throughout the process of German unification in 1990 and on into 1991, according to declassified U.S., Soviet, German, British and French documents posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University ( http://nsarchive.gwu.edu ).

The documents show that multiple national leaders were considering and rejecting Central and Eastern European membership in NATO as of early 1990 and through 1991, that discussions of NATO in the context of German unification negotiations in 1990 were not at all narrowly limited to the status of East German territory, and that subsequent Soviet and Russian complaints about being misled about NATO expansion were founded in written contemporaneous memcons and telcons at the highest levels

The documents reinforce former CIA Director Robert Gates's criticism of "pressing ahead with expansion of NATO eastward [in the 1990s], when Gorbachev and others were led to believe that wouldn't happen."

***

The first concrete assurances by Western leaders on NATO began on January 31, 1990, when West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher opened the bidding with a major public speech at Tutzing, in Bavaria, on German unification. The U.S. Embassy in Bonn (see Document 1) informed Washington that Genscher made clear "that the changes in Eastern Europe and the German unification process must not lead to an 'impairment of Soviet security interests.' Therefore, NATO should rule out an 'expansion of its territory towards the east, i.e. moving it closer to the Soviet borders.'" The Bonn cable also noted Genscher's proposal to leave the East German territory out of NATO military structures even in a unified Germany in NATO

This latter idea of special status for the GDR territory was codified in the final German unification treaty signed on September 12, 1990, by the Two-Plus-Four foreign ministers (see Document 25). The former idea about "closer to the Soviet borders" is written down not in treaties but in multiple memoranda of conversation between the Soviets and the highest-level Western interlocutors (Genscher, Kohl, Baker, Gates, Bush, Mitterrand, Thatcher, Major, Woerner, and others) offering assurances throughout 1990 and into 1991 about protecting Soviet security interests and including the USSR in new European security structures . The two issues were related but not the same. Subsequent analysis sometimes conflated the two and argued that the discussion did not involve all of Europe. The documents published below show clearly that it did.

The "Tutzing formula" immediately became the center of a flurry of important diplomatic discussions over the next 10 days in 1990, leading to the crucial February 10, 1990, meeting in Moscow between Kohl and Gorbachev when the West German leader achieved Soviet assent in principle to German unification in NATO, as long as NATO did not expand to the east

***

The conversations before Kohl's assurance involved explicit discussion of NATO expansion, the Central and East European countries, and how to convince the Soviets to accept unification. For example, on February 6, 1990, when Genscher met with British Foreign Minister Douglas Hurd, the British record showed Genscher saying, "The Russians must have some assurance that if, for example, the Polish Government left the Warsaw Pact one day, they would not join NATO the next ." (See Document 2)

Having met with Genscher on his way into discussions with the Soviets, Baker repeated exactly the Genscher formulation in his meeting with Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze on February 9, 1990, (see Document 4); and even more importantly, face to face with Gorbachev

Not once, but three times, Baker tried out the "not one inch eastward" formula with Gorbachev in the February 9, 1990, meeting. He agreed with Gorbachev's statement in response to the assurances that "NATO expansion is unacceptable." Baker assured Gorbachev that "neither the President nor I intend to extract any unilateral advantages from the processes that are taking place," and that the Americans understood that "not only for the Soviet Union but for other European countries as well it is important to have guarantees that if the United States keeps its presence in Germany within the framework of NATO, not an inch of NATO's present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction." (See Document 6).

Here are two relevant excerpts from Document 6 :

***

The National Security Archive report continues:

Baker reported: "And then I put the following question to him [Gorbachev]. Would you prefer to see a united Germany outside of NATO, independent and with no U.S. forces or would you prefer a unified Germany to be tied to NATO, with assurances that NATO's jurisdiction would not shift one inch eastward from its present position? He answered that the Soviet leadership was giving real thought to all such options [ .] He then added, 'Certainly any extension of the zone of NATO would be unacceptable.'" Baker added in parentheses, for Kohl's benefit, "By implication, NATO in its current zone might be acceptable." ( See Document 8)

Well-briefed by the American secretary of state, the West German chancellor understood a key Soviet bottom line, and assured Gorbachev on February 10, 1990: "We believe that NATO should not expand the sphere of its activity." (See Document 9).

Here is a related excerpt from Document 9 :

The National Security Archives report concludes:

All the Western foreign ministers were on board with Genscher, Kohl, and Baker. Next came the British foreign minister, Douglas Hurd, on April 11, 1990.

***

Hurd reinforced the Baker-Genscher-Kohl message in his meeting with Gorbachev in Moscow, April 11, 1990, saying that Britain clearly "recognized the importance of doing nothing to prejudice Soviet interests and dignity." (See Document 15)

The Baker conversation with Shevardnadze on May 4, 1990, as Baker described it in his own report to President Bush, most eloquently described what Western leaders were telling Gorbachev exactly at the moment: "I used your speech and our recognition of the need to adapt NATO, politically and militarily, and to develop CSCE to reassure Shevardnadze that the process would not yield winners and losers. Instead, it would produce a new legitimate European structure – one that would be inclusive, not exclusive." (See Document 17)

Baker said it again, directly to Gorbachev on May 18, 1990 in Moscow, giving Gorbachev his "nine points," which included the transformation of NATO, strengthening European structures, keeping Germany non-nuclear, and taking Soviet security interests into account. Baker started off his remarks, "Before saying a few words about the German issue, I wanted to emphasize that our policies are not aimed at separating Eastern Europe from the Soviet Union. We had that policy before. But today we are interested in building a stable Europe, and doing it together with you." (See Document 18)

The French leader Francois Mitterrand continued the cascade of assurances by saying the West must "create security conditions for you, as well as European security as a whole." (See Document 19) Mitterrand immediately wrote Bush in a " cher George " letter about his conversation with the Soviet leader, that "we would certainly not refuse to detail the guarantees that he would have a right to expect for his country's security." (See Document 20)

At the Washington summit on May 31, 1990, Bush went out of his way to assure Gorbachev that Germany in NATO would never be directed at the USSR : "Believe me, we are not pushing Germany towards unification, and it is not us who determines the pace of this process. And of course, we have no intention, even in our thoughts, to harm the Soviet Union in any fashion. That is why we are speaking in favor of German unification in NATO without ignoring the wider context of the CSCE, taking the traditional economic ties between the two German states into consideration. Such a model, in our view, corresponds to the Soviet interests as well." (See Document 21)

The "Iron Lady" also pitched in, after the Washington summit, in her meeting with Gorbachev in London on June 8, 1990. Thatcher anticipated the moves the Americans (with her support) would take in the early July NATO conference to support Gorbachev with descriptions of the transformation of NATO towards a more political, less militarily threatening, alliance . She said to Gorbachev: "We must find ways to give the Soviet Union confidence that its security would be assured . CSCE could be an umbrella for all this, as well as being the forum which brought the Soviet Union fully into discussion about the future of Europe." (See Document 22)

The NATO London Declaration on July 5, 1990 had quite a positive effect on deliberations in Moscow, according to most accounts, giving Gorbachev significant ammunition to counter his hardliners at the Party Congress which was taking place at that moment.

***

As Kohl said to Gorbachev in Moscow on July 15, 1990, as they worked out the final deal on German unification: "We know what awaits NATO in the future, and I think you are now in the know as well," referring to the NATO London Declaration. (See Document 23)

In his phone call to Gorbachev on July 17, Bush meant to reinforce the success of the Kohl-Gorbachev talks and the message of the London Declaration. Bush explained: "So what we tried to do was to take account of your concerns expressed to me and others, and we did it in the following ways: by our joint declaration on non-aggression; in our invitation to you to come to NATO ; in our agreement to open NATO to regular diplomatic contact with your government and those of the Eastern European countries; and our offer on assurances on the future size of the armed forces of a united Germany – an issue I know you discussed with Helmut Kohl. We also fundamentally changed our military approach on conventional and nuclear forces. We conveyed the idea of an expanded, stronger CSCE with new institutions in which the USSR can share and be part of the new Europe." (See Document 24)

The documents show that Gorbachev agreed to German unification in NATO as the result of this cascade of assurances , and on the basis of his own analysis that the future of the Soviet Union depended on its integration into Europe, for which Germany would be the decisive actor. He and most of his allies believed that some version of the common European home was still possible and would develop alongside the transformation of NATO to lead to a more inclusive and integrated European space, that the post-Cold War settlement would take account of the Soviet security interests. The alliance with Germany would not only overcome the Cold War but also turn on its head the legacy of the Great Patriotic War.

But inside the U.S. government, a different discussion continued , a debate about relations between NATO and Eastern Europe. Opinions differed, but the suggestion from the Defense Department as of October 25, 1990 was to leave "the door ajar" for East European membership in NATO . (See Document 27)

***

As late as March 1991, according to the diary of the British ambassador to Moscow, British Prime Minister John Major personally assured Gorbachev, "We are not talking about the strengthening of NATO ." Subsequently, when Soviet defense minister Marshal Dmitri Yazov asked Major about East European leaders' interest in NATO membership, the British leader responded, " Nothing of the sort will happen ." (See Document 28)

When Russian Supreme Soviet deputies came to Brussels to see NATO and meet with NATO secretary-general Manfred Woerner in July 1991, Woerner told the Russians that "We should not allow [ ] the isolation of the USSR from the European community." According to the Russian memorandum of conversation, " Woerner stressed that the NATO Council and he are against the expansion of NATO (13 of 16 NATO members support this point of view)." (See Document 30)

Thus, Gorbachev went to the end of the Soviet Union assured that the West was not threatening his security and was not expanding NATO

Anti-Schmoo , December 15, 2017 at 4:22 am

IIRC, the U.S. has, historically, not lived up to one treaty in its entire existence. Quite a remarkable accomplishment, no? Methinks the chickens are coming home to roost, yes?

Jim Haygood , December 15, 2017 at 7:26 am

Nice timing for the release of these archives on Dec 12th. Yesterday the WaPo posted an article "based on interviews with more than 50 current and former U.S. officials" titled "Doubting the Intelligence: Trump Pursues Putin and Leaves a Russian Threat Unchecked":

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/world/national-security/donald-trump-pursues-vladimir-putin-russian-election-hacking/

Axiomatic to the WaPo hacks authors is that NATO ranks right up there with the 1776 Declaration and the Constitution as a bedrock US principle. Trump's doubts about NATO, including his demands that European members pay more, are presented as evidence (it is hinted) of his collusion with the evil Putin.

Naturally the new archives released by GWU play no part in the WaPo story two days later, since they aren't "fitted to the narrative."

History is bunk, as ol' Henry Ford said: Americans live in the eternal now. Our PDS (Putin Derangement System) journos insist that Putin is bad to the bone, as all Russkis are, and there's just no reason for it except for their dark slavic hearts which contrast so painfully with our bright pure red white 'n blue ones. :-(

Sid Finster , December 15, 2017 at 11:16 am

Any time you hear or read a Russian conspiracy theory in the MSM or elsewhere, substitute the words "Jews" for "Russians" and the words "International Jewry" for "Russia". Then re-read the sentence.

See how ugly that sentence now looks?

So why should we rightfully decry such racism against Jews or others, but applaud the same sort of racism when it is directed against Russians?

Jfree , December 15, 2017 at 4:32 am

Interesting to see these first draft of history discussions come out. At roughly the same time, Jeanne Kirkpatrick wrote an article directed more to a public discussion that the end of the 40-year Cold War could lead to America once again becoming a normal country in normal times . With its implication that NATO's very existence might not even be necessary anymore.

Gotta say the thing that most disappoints me is that none of these conversations ever actually occurred in any public – anywhere. There was absolutely zero public discussion about what a post-Cold War world and its mutual obligations might look like.

Zero acknowledgement by any of the deep permastate types that the consent of the governed is even necessary. We the people are simply the bobbleheads to be manipulated by the lying sociopaths in power.

Sid Finster , December 15, 2017 at 11:18 am

Yeah, but then the Deep State might actually have to get *jobs*.

skippy , December 15, 2017 at 4:33 am

Ask the Afghani Mujaheddin

vlade , December 15, 2017 at 4:44 am

You cannot read this alone – I said so before, and will again.

Any thing like this pretty much ignores the fact that all of the Visegad four (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary) were pushing VERY strongly to get included in NATO, as for them at the time it was the one clear signal that they are not in the USSRs zone of dominion any more. Anything else would just not do.

It was a symbol, more than anything else. You need to remember that all of those countries had Soviet troops (and nuclear weapons), some since WW2, and ALL of them had their citizens killed by Soviet troops (Czechoslovakia 1968, Hungary 1956, Poland pre-and post WW2) within living memory.

Clinton resisted this (for a time, and I believe on advice of his security advisors), but in the end was won over. I have actually talked to a few people from V4 who were involved in this at a quite high level, so feel like I can comment.

Ignoring the above is to me just a sort of different American bubble that says "everything (for one group good, for another bad) that happens in the world is because America wishes so". It entirely ignores the history and the political situation in the area at the time.

That's not to say US couldn't have played it better – but it was not "America wake up and said "let's extend NATO for the kicks of it"" either.

Yves Smith Post author , December 15, 2017 at 5:20 am

Did you read the post? The commitments weren't just from the US. They were also from the leaders of Germany, France, and the UK.

The EU has been willing to say "no" to the much more geographically important Turkey for decades. Why does Poland have more clout?

Quentin , December 15, 2017 at 7:09 am

Maybe Poland has more clout because the rest of Europe and the US see Poland as part of their world. Not so much Turkey, which didn't get into any European 'game' plan until the end of the Ottoman empire, especially beginning with Ataturk. Before that, it was more an enemy if anything. And Russia then? Well Russia has always been seen as the big, bad freak who refuses to comply and conform, submit, to the West's deepest wishes.

Carolinian , December 15, 2017 at 9:10 am

I'm reading a book about the Crimean War and even in the middle of the 19th cent. there was widespread sentiment in England that the Russians were Slavic barbarians threatening the rest of Europe with their size, expansionist ambitions and different version of Christianity. So perhaps the current Russophobia has deeper roots than we realize and may center on Old Blightey with the cousins along for the ride. In this scenario Poland became the buffer zone against the Russians and was much quarreled over by the great powers.

vlade , December 15, 2017 at 7:13 am

I can't answer that – but the reality is, that US was giving V4 "No" answer when they were lobbying for it, and it took them years to get there.

If US was so keen to do it, it would have been done by Bush, not Clinton towards the end of hist first term. Clinton told Havel (and I have it from a person who was in the room at the time) that his military/security advisors were telling him "No".

Donald , December 15, 2017 at 7:30 am

What difference would it make to the Russians if Clinton was told not to do it and then did it anyway? You are arguing in effect that the US had good intentions and didn't want to break its word, but that is a secondary issue. The issue here is that not only did the US break its word, but we have been misled about it.

I was thinking about this in connection with a story about Yemen in the Intercept a couple of days ago. It seems that our ambassador to Yemen was more hawkish than some others in the Obama Administration. I think we should know as much as possible about how such decisions ar made and I thought the story was useful, but I can imagine how it would be spun if the mainstream press were ever pressured into covering our horrific role in Yemen with as much energy as they pour into Russiagate. They would look for a scapegoat like the ambassador and do everything they could to show that overall the US had good intentions.

vlade , December 15, 2017 at 8:22 am

My point is not the Russian grievance – that stands. I'd even agree with that it was a dumb move – but the whole treatment of Russia as a beaten country (when they very clearly didn't feel like that) was beyong stupid, it was , and the West should have learned from history (how it ended with Germany post WW1).

My point is that way too often I have seen this as "America does this, America does that" – without considering the wider picture. Yes, ultimately it was US decision (because they could have just keep saying no, although polish minority in the US is large – it's larger than Jewish, although I suspect there is an overlap. Also, Albright was born in Czechoslovakia and emigrated after the communist takeover, so there you go, she might have played a role in turning Clinton around) – but it wasn't that they were rushing to do it from day 0 and forcing the V4 to get into NATO just to do one over Russia.

I suspect one of the reasons they actually agreed to it in the end was because they thought Russia was done for (who in the world cared for Russia in 1995-1998? Apart from looters, that is, both foreign and domestic), and NATO was just a fomality that would be gone in a decade.

TBH, I also suspect that the first expansion Russia could have lived with – but the second expansion, especially taking in Baltics, and any suggestion of having NATO expand more towards Russia's borders was, is and will be seen as a provocation and a direct threat by Russia. Russia feels safe only when it has a nice plump buffer, preferrably of aligned states.

hemeantwell , December 15, 2017 at 9:17 am

The "wider picture" is that the US was the preeminent military power at that time. That is a reality that could have been leveraged into a transition in the terms of competition between Russia and the West. Your suggestion that four small countries should bear any responsibility for US' failure to follow through on its assurances and to use this opening to put an end to militarized competition and brinksmanship is impossible to take seriously. It ignores major players, e.g. the good old military-industrial complex (which here needs to be thought of in international terms), that were seriously threatened by the possibility of a wind-down in tensions.

timbers , December 15, 2017 at 9:19 am

My point is that way too often I have seen this as "America does this, America does that" – without considering the wider picture Also, Albright was born in Czechoslovakia and emigrated after the communist takeover, so there you go, she might have played a role in turning Clinton around) – but it wasn't that they were rushing to do it from day 0 and forcing the V4 to get into NATO just to do one over Russia.

Trump came into office promising better relations w/Russia and look how that turned out. It "wasn't that Trump was rushing into" worse relations w/Russia, but it still happened and in a very big hurry or "rush.".

I'd say the "Deep State" agenda was very much in a rush to start aggression against Russia.

Was Trump? Bill Clinton? Bush? Certainly Hillary was. But maybe they were/are just puppets of the Deep State.

visitor , December 15, 2017 at 11:11 am

who in the world cared for Russia in 1995-1998? Apart from looters, that is, both foreign and domestic

The general view of Russia as a goner was actually a post-1998 phenomenon because of the financial crash, bank failures, currency depreciation, state bankruptcy -- and the realization of how corrupt, destitute and rotten the "new democratic Russia" was. The (in)famous article "Russia is finished" by Jeffrey Tayler was published in 2001 -- at a time when Putin had just started taking control of things.

Wukchumni , December 15, 2017 at 12:30 pm

My parents knew the Korbels in Denver in the 50's, as an interesting aside to the conversation.

I'm on the phone with my mom right now, and she relates that the idea that Madeleine didn't know she was Jewish until 1997 is a bit preposterous as her mother looked very much the part, but it was a different era way back when, and anti-semitism was such that you might have been turned away on a hotel room when they asked your surname, in some quarters.

MisterMr , December 15, 2017 at 9:52 am

"The EU has been willing to say "no" to the much more geographically important Turkey for decades. Why does Poland have more clout?"

In my opinion, there is some sort of European nationalism, by which I mean the idea that Europe should be a single big nation state, in most of Europe. This view is not as strong and obvious as single nation state nationalism, but it exists: for example Giuseppe Mazzini, one of the "founding fathers" of Italy, created two secret societies: the "giovine Italia" [young Italy] for the unification of Italy, and the "giovine Europa" [young Europe] for the unification of Europe, already in the 19th century before Italian unification.

The whole idea of a "united Europe" is part of the reason of the EU, so it's natural that Poland, which was already perceived as an European country, was welcome in the EU; Turkey on the other hand is not generally perceived as European so it's less welcome (you can see this as racism, or as sense of identity, the difference is quite blurry IMHO).

Russia too would have been welcome into the EU (in my opinion), but I don't think the Russians would have accepted the loss of sovereignity that this entail.

I think that this has to do with the fact that many (most) European countries were beaten quite hard in WW2, and even the two european "winners" of WW2 won only in the sense that the USA and the USSR won and they happened to be on the right side of the war at that time.

So nationalistic identity and pride in most of Europe is, IMHO, a more complex thing than it is in the USA, and Europeans mostly welcomed the idea of a United Europe.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the ones who appear to be the less attached to the idea of a "United Europe" are the British, who are the one who still may think they won WW2.

Anon , December 15, 2017 at 9:30 pm

WW2 was "won" by Russia defeating Germany, while losing 30 million people. The US "won" WW2 by bombing a quarter million citizens at Hiroshima/Nagasake, while losing maybe 250,000 soldiers in the total war effort..

Alex Morfesis , December 15, 2017 at 7:10 am

A bit confused on this viceguard suggestion of nostalgia for the wehrmacht and pure hate for Moscow

is it the food, the wine, or the women (kiss me muti) on the west side of the oder-neisse line ?

Gentlemen prefer jackboots ?

vlade , December 15, 2017 at 8:34 am

Where do you see nostalgia for Wehrmacht?

In 1990s, Soviets were the leaving occupants, who were there for 20+ years. They were thorougly despised – that's a fact. Soviets in 1950s were still often seen as liberators by a majority of the population, but managed to squander that away with bloody suppression of Hungarians in 50s, and less bloody, but not less jackbooted supression of Prague Spring in 68 (in a way more, since Hungarians actually fought, while in Prague Spring the killed were unarmed civilians)

whiteylockmandoubled , December 15, 2017 at 10:51 am

Yes, the Soviets were hated occupiers, but so what? The stakes on this are and were enormous, both in traditional Great Power terms, and with the added dimension of nuclear confrontation.

There were many steps that the US, UK, Germany and France could have taken to provide reassurances and security to the Eastern European states during the ensuing 20 years short of expanding NATO membership, beginning, of course, with economic integration. EU membership doesn't necessarily require NATO membership.

Yes, there were domestic "Captive Nations" political pressures in the U.S., but they could have been finessed with smart policy short of NATO expansion, and in fact, they were. I know it was a terrible strain, but US politicians heroically resisted that pressure for a full decade -- the first expansion didn't happen until 1999, more than half-way through Clinton's second term.

The U.S. and its allies made a set of commitments to Gorbachev, and then Bill Clinton broke those promises. Full stop. Bush then doubled down. Obama and Trump added Albania, Croatia and Montenegro because I guess it's now a required machismo ritual. (interestinng coincidence that accessions just happened to be scheduled for the first six months after open-seat Presidential elections, no?) The consequences of those decisions are the responsibility of the inhabitants of the White House, and no one else's.

America really did this one.

visitor , December 15, 2017 at 11:18 am

Interestingly, Eastern Europeans detest each other as well: Romanians vs. Hungarians, Poles vs. Ukrainians, Bulgarians vs. Serbs, etc. Their execration of the historically dominating and boorish Russians is what brings them together -- as well as their wariness of the overbearing and historically dominating Germany.

Olga , December 15, 2017 at 12:01 pm

Detest is a very strong word and not accurate in this case. There are historical grievances (such as Hungarians wanting to scrap the Trianon treaty), but most sane people have moved on Same goes for "boorish" Russians – have you ever met a Russian or read a bit of history about Eastern Europe? And yes, the struggle against German domination dates back to 800-900AD.

visitor , December 15, 2017 at 1:40 pm

The recent history, with savage civil wars in Yugoslavia, Moldavia and Ukraine, shows that there are enough wacky people imbued with detestation for their neighbours to overwhelm the sane ones. Echoes of what some Ukrainian groups tell about e.g. Poles make me think we should be wary of those old grievances.

Yes, I did meet Russians. Actually, I worked with them. In fact, I hired some. Very nice guys and fun lads, very intelligent, conscientious and imaginative (my branch is IT -- I view Russians as the elite there). Not boorish at all (but a bit cynical).

On the other hand, the anecdotes they kept telling about how things were going with police, "businessmen" and politicians back home made it very clear that those are extremely boorish -- and they were mostly the ones Eastern Europeans had to deal with. Those stories also explain why my Russian colleagues were so reserved initially, and opened up when they realized how different the interactions were in Western Europe.

I also had Hungarians and Romanians working with me and the Russians -- and there was absolutely no problem. All young generation though, they were schoolboys when the Eastern bloc collapsed. Time frame: early 2000s.

A century ago, Russians had a positive image amongst Eastern Europeans (except Poles). The ones who were the target of contempt and detestation were the Austrians and the Turks. Perhaps the next generation will have entirely forgotten about the Russians of the Warsaw Pact, the COMECON and the "limited sovereignty".

Sid Finster , December 15, 2017 at 11:22 am

Want to induce a spitting mad Donald Duck meltdown in a Polish person?

Simply remind them that the only reason that there are Polish people alive in Poland today is because of the Red Army. Anyone who thinks that the Germans were going to stop at Jews is not familiar with Mein Kampf or Generalplan Ost.

This is not to excuse anything else that the Soviets did in Eastern Europe, but at the same time, it is the only reason those Polish people are alive to nurse their russophobia.

Olga , December 15, 2017 at 11:56 am

For example, in some parts of Ukraine

JerseyJeffersonian , December 15, 2017 at 5:17 pm

Vlade,

Lost in your one-sided account of the brave Hungarians is the fact that a non-trivial contingent of those invading the USSR during the Second World War were Hungarians. There were a lot of fascists in Hungary, and no joke about it, and they willingly participated in the invasion. If you think that the losses in life and property caused directly by the invading Hungarian fascists to the Russian and Soviet peoples, both military and civilian, and the war crimes with which they were likely liberally festooned were not remembered, well, think again. And when the uprising began, those memories probably informed the severity of the Soviet response.

The Hungarians took up arms and participated in a brutal and genocidal attack against the USSR during the Third Reich's invasion. This was only slightly more than 10 years before the Hungarian uprising. Realistically, what did you expect the Soviets' reaction to be to the uprising? Soviet intelligence was surely aware of the Gladio program, and this would only be seen as part and parcel of this western-guided and sponsored program.

Were the deaths and repression that followed regrettable? Of course they were; I am not maintaining otherwise. But times were what they were largely due to what had gone before, and to elide that from the account is unbalanced.

The Rev Kev , December 15, 2017 at 8:16 am

I am wondering what would have happened if NATO had not only expanded east but had also let the Russian Federation itself become part of NATO. Of course countries like Estonia and Lithuania would have squawked about that but they could have been simply told to have a large cup of shut the **** up. Either that or they would have been neutral countries with NATO to the west as well as the east (Russia). Can you imagine?

Instead of NATO merely being the military wing of the western powers it would be one that stretched from Vladivostok right through to the Atlantic. Such an entity would have made it its job to stabilize all the Stans to the south of it as well as Afghanistan itself. There would never be the scenario, as is the case now, where China and Russia have been forced into a defensive alliance. Perhaps Russia would have become part of the EU. Imagine the trade possibilities.

Instead the western powers got greedy, expanded up the the Russian border, lined it with Special Forces formations and future nuclear first-strike-missiles and holds NATO tank parades literally blocks away from the Russian border. Epic fail that.

Chaos is the goal , December 15, 2017 at 9:12 am

Nice thought but the military industry can't have peace and harmony. NATO was very quick to start talking about Islam as the next threat after the fall of the Soviet Union.

UK even insisted that they needed their nuclear submarines to fight islam.

Olga , December 15, 2017 at 12:02 pm

There's be no need for MICC – can't have that, can we

andyb , December 15, 2017 at 8:32 am

The entrenched USG neocons will foster a demonization of Putin (and Russia) until they achieve WWIII; but an objective evaluation of Russian superiority in weapons suggests that theirs is a suicide mission. Peruse the saga of the USS Donald Cook in the Black Sea, and the US military fear of Soviet defense missile systems, to understand.

jfleni , December 15, 2017 at 9:28 am

Blowback: Kim Jong-Un, China, Russia, etc, etc, "We'll never believe you again, you lying Yankee [obscenities], a pox on you! And who can blame them?

Joel , December 15, 2017 at 10:34 am

When are historians going to start saying that the Clinton presidency was one of the most disastrous in American history?

The more we know, the more it seems much bad and little good came out of it, except that it wasn't as bad as its immediate successor.

visitor , December 15, 2017 at 11:02 am

except that it wasn't as bad as its immediate successor.

In so far as the major consequences of the policies and decisions taken by Clinton actually occurred during GWB's presidency, there is little to choose between them.

Extraordinary renditions? Clinton. Military interventions without UNO resolutions? Clinton. Complete dismantling of the financial sector leading to untrammeled speculation? Clinton. Bombing of foreign countries as a standard policy? Clinton (though with old-fashioned aeroplanes and long-range missiles, not drones, so there was innovation with Bush).

Amfortas the Hippie , December 15, 2017 at 11:19 am

At the time(clinton era), I was leery of Billary, but I couldn't put my finger on it I was too busy being young and wild and crazy, as well as keeping body and soul together.

and it was preinternet.

so one had to find alternative narratives regarding the shape of the world where one could people on street corners in the Montrose(Houston) handing out Lyndon Larouche newsletters, later street people on the Drag in Austin handing out Zines from Zendik Farms, still wet with ink, or the odd John Bircher at the aa meeting, the closet Klansman at the beer joint as well as more respectable outlets(William Greider comes to mind).

More to the point of this story, growing up listening to my Half Cherokee Grandad talk about perfidy on the part of the US, I guess I have always been immune to the usual flagwaving superpatriotism the US gov is not to be trusted. Ever.

It's only since I finally got on the Web, circa 1999, that I've been able to sift through all the chaff, and look at things like the foreign press and FOIA Docs, that that Feeling has hardened into Certainty.

The more I learn, the more I find that I loathe my country.(see: history of the CIA, for just one egregious crime spree in our name)
That sucks especially since expressing such dislike is the quickest way to getting lynched in the places I've spent my life(Texas and the South).

Olga , December 15, 2017 at 11:57 am

you're right, now it seems we shoulda kept papa bush for another term.

urdsama , December 15, 2017 at 12:36 pm

That is not what Joel said.

There has been a steady stream of articles and government disclosures that have shown the Clinton years were less than the rosy picture commonly painted.

This just adds to that narrative. Nothing is being said that we should have had more Bush the elder. But perhaps Clinton wasn't the answer either.

Louis Fyne , December 15, 2017 at 11:37 am

the reneging of Baker's promise + regime change in Iraq + regime change in Libya + near regime change in Syria demonstrate to everyone outside of Nato that the US/the West can't be trusted to honor international law -- regardless of the administration (Dem or Rep). And other countries will act accordingly

P Fitzsimon , December 15, 2017 at 11:58 am

In the book "Who Lost Russia", the author, Peter Conradi, mentions a political lobby group funded by the defense contractors to promote NATO expansion to the East in the 1990s. Does anyone have information concerning this group and its influence?

Olga , December 15, 2017 at 12:04 pm

I do remember reading about this group – someone wrote a lengthy article on this. Will look.

RWood , December 15, 2017 at 1:02 pm

Olga, you mention the MICC, while to others, it's the MIC. What discourse or determination leads you to that difference? I'm asking because I agree, and want further documentation, and the elimination of the last "C" is constant, and a great misperception.

David , December 15, 2017 at 1:34 pm

I was there. I've never believed that western leaders were being deliberately deceitful about NATO expansion – they were as much victims of events as anything else, and the situation was moving incredibly fast. Remember that the conversation with Gorbachev (Document 9) dates from February 1990, barely three months after the fall of the Berlin Wall, when western capitals were in shock, and the priority was a peaceful reunification of Germany and the exit of Soviet forces stationed there. At that stage, as the situation changed almost daily, nobody much was thinking about NATO expansion. Indeed, many were wondering if NATO would go on at all.

Vlade is quite right that there was pressure from the V3 (later 4) for closer ties with the West, and this eventually turned into membership, but this was not being discussed in early 1990, when the V3 themselves did not want to move from one military bloc to another, and when it would have been seen as a gratuitous insult to the Soviet Union. On the other hand, there was a lot of worry about the stability of some of the ex Warsaw Pact countries and the Soviet successor states.

The real issue was the future of NATO itself. NATO had all sorts of pragmatic political advantages for all sorts of nations, including many in Europe, and it was necessary to find something for it to do. In the absence of a threat, enlargement was more or less all it could do, and so that was what it spent a long time doing.

By the late 90s, with Yeltsin in charge, Russian opposition was less of an issue. In the end, NATO stumbled into enlargement, telling itself that it would be confined to the V3/4 and that would be it. But as a number of us pointed out at the time, once you start, there's no logical point at which you stop. And so Ukraine.

Anon , December 15, 2017 at 9:47 pm

tell it to the American Natives (Indians). The US lies to eveyone to gain land and leverage.

Alex , December 15, 2017 at 2:54 pm

I'm grinding my teeth when I think about that time when it was possible to effect a genuine reset of relations between Russia and the West.\

Another problem, and much more significant one, was that Russia adopted capitalist at the very unfortunate moment of the domination of neoliberalism which led to many catastrophic decisions.

Anarcissie , December 15, 2017 at 4:35 pm

I find it hard to believe that Gorbachev, or indeed anyone in international politics, would trust the US government or US ruling class absent some sort of material verification, guarantees, even hostages. That requires some explanation.

RBHoughton , December 15, 2017 at 6:39 pm

The article notes dishonesty originated in the Department of Defense. Why am I not surprised?

One the most attractive features of NATO is that it emasculates all its members before the most powerful one. The strongman gets to know what the others can do militarily and adjusts for that. Its like a secret society – once in, you can't leave even if you want to. So joining the NATO gang for security actually brings submission. Should the strongest one withdraw into domestic contemplation the others will just wither away. Horror of horrors, peace might break out. Doubtful? What did we see in Serbia and Bosnia? Remind me.

wilroncanada , December 15, 2017 at 7:41 pm

The Warsaw Pact was USSR military colonialism. NATO was US military colonialism. What does an imperial power do when its "enemy" vacates a space, asking for neutrality? It takes over, demanding tribute. The tribute in this case was neoliberalism, to the benefit of US business, especially the MIC.

Olaf Lukk , December 15, 2017 at 10:20 pm

NATO was formed in 1948 response to the Soviet refusal to withdraw from the Eastern European nations it continued to occupy with Soviet troops and control with puppet governments after WWll. The Soviet response was to form the Warsaw Pact- consisting of those very same nations: (East) Germany, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslavakia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Albania. The only time Warsaw Pact troops were used militarily was to put down rebellions by its own members: Hungary in 1956; Czechoslavakia in 1968.

The collapse of the Soviet empire- its Eastern European "sphere of influence"- began with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and culminated in the collapse of the Soviet "union" in 1991. In subsequent years, all of the Warsaw Pact members, plus the illegally annexed and occupied Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, having reclaimed their sovereignty, also made a point of joining NATO- to ensure that a reawakened Russian bear did not return to do even more damage.

Western leaders in 1990, seeking to reassure Gorbachev regarding German unification, had no standing to negotiate away the future foreign policies of those nations which had endured half a century of the failed Soviet experiment and were still within the Soviet "sphere of influence". In any case, how do you keep a "promise" to a political entity- the USSR- which no longer exists?

The nations of Eastern Europe chose to join NATO; they were not coerced into doing so. Russian actions in Ukraine have validated their pragmatism in joining NATO. Although Putin described the demise of the USSR as "the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th Century", Russia does not have some sort of divine right to rebuild the Soviet empire and it "sphere of influence". NATO is not a threat to Russia; it is only a threat to those who would seek to rebuild its lost empire.

Yves Smith Post author , December 15, 2017 at 10:36 pm

Sorry, NATO is a club, just like the EU, which has refused entry to Turkey. NATO decides who to let in. Outsiders don't have any rights, any more than Quebec could demand to join France.

Olaf Lukk , December 15, 2017 at 11:02 pm

"NATO decides who to let in". Precisely! All of the former Warsaw Pact members, plus the Baltic states, asked to join NATO, and were granted membership. Don't the nations of Eastern Europe- after fifty years of Soviet (Russian) domination, have the right to decide their own future, and to decide which alliances to join?

Considering the post WWll history of Eastern Europe -- the Soviet domination until the Soviet collapse -- Russia complaining about NATO expansion is tantamout to a burglar complaining that his victims have installed a burglar alarm.

[Dec 11, 2017] How Russia-gate Met the Magnitsky Myth by Robert Parry

Highly recommended!
Looks like Browder was connected to MI6. That means that intellignece agances participated in economic rape of Russia That's explains a lot, including his change of citizenship from US to UK. He wanted better protection.
Notable quotes:
"... The Russian lawyer, Natalie Veselnitskaya, who met with Trump Jr. and other advisers to Donald Trump Sr.'s campaign, represented a company that had run afoul of a U.S. investigation into money-laundering allegedly connected to the Magnitsky case and his death in a Russian prison in 2009. His death sparked a campaign spearheaded by Browder, who used his wealth and clout to lobby the U.S. Congress in 2012 to enact the Magnitsky Act to punish alleged human rights abusers in Russia. The law became what might be called the first shot in the New Cold War. ..."
"... Despite Russian denials – and the "dog ate my homework" quality of Browder's self-serving narrative – the dramatic tale became a cause celebre in the West. The story eventually attracted the attention of Russian filmmaker Andrei Nekrasov, a known critic of President Vladimir Putin. Nekrasov decided to produce a docu-drama that would present Browder's narrative to a wider public. Nekrasov even said he hoped that he might recruit Browder as the narrator of the tale. ..."
"... Nekrasov discovered that a woman working in Browder's company was the actual whistleblower and that Magnitsky – rather than a crusading lawyer – was an accountant who was implicated in the scheme. ..."
"... Ultimately, Nekrasov completes his extraordinary film – entitled "The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes" – and it was set for a premiere at the European Parliament in Brussels in April 2016. However, at the last moment – faced with Browder's legal threats – the parliamentarians pulled the plug. Nekrasov encountered similar resistance in the United States, a situation that, in part, brought Natalie Veselnitskaya into this controversy. ..."
"... That was when she turned to promoter Rob Goldstone to set up a meeting at Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr. To secure the sit-down on June 9, 2016, Goldstone dangled the prospect that Veselnitskaya had some derogatory financial information from the Russian government about Russians supporting the Democratic National Committee. Trump Jr. jumped at the possibility and brought senior Trump campaign advisers, Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, along. ..."
"... By all accounts, Veselnitskaya had little or nothing to offer about the DNC and turned the conversation instead to the Magnitsky Act and Putin's retaliatory measure to the sanctions, canceling a program in which American parents adopted Russian children. One source told me that Veselnitskaya also wanted to enhance her stature in Russia with the boast that she had taken a meeting at Trump Tower with Trump's son. ..."
"... But another goal of Veselnitskaya's U.S. trip was to participate in an effort to give Americans a chance to see Nekrasov's blacklisted documentary. She traveled to Washington in the days after her Trump Tower meeting and attended a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, according to The Washington Post. ..."
"... There were hopes to show the documentary to members of Congress but the offer was rebuffed. Instead a room was rented at the Newseum near Capitol Hill. Browder's lawyers. who had successfully intimidated the European Parliament, also tried to strong arm the Newseum, but its officials responded that they were only renting out a room and that they had allowed other controversial presentations in the past. ..."
"... Their stand wasn't exactly a profile in courage. "We're not going to allow them not to show the film," said Scott Williams, the chief operating officer of the Newseum. "We often have people renting for events that other people would love not to have happen." ..."
"... So, Nekrasov's documentary got a one-time showing with Veselnitskaya reportedly in attendance and with a follow-up discussion moderated by journalist Seymour Hersh. However, except for that audience, the public of the United States and Europe has been essentially shielded from the documentary's discoveries, all the better for the Magnitsky myth to retain its power as a seminal propaganda moment of the New Cold War. ..."
"... Over the past year, we have seen a growing hysteria about "Russian propaganda" and "fake news" with The New York Times and other major news outlets eagerly awaiting algorithms that can be unleashed on the Internet to eradicate information that groups like Google's First Draft Coalition deem "false." ..."
"... First Draft consists of the Times, the Post, other mainstream outlets, and establishment-approved online news sites, such as Bellingcat with links to the pro-NATO think tank, Atlantic Council. First Draft's job will be to serve as a kind of Ministry of Truth and thus shield the public from information that is deemed propaganda or untrue. ..."
"... From searches that I did on Wednesday, Nekrasov's film was not available on Amazon although a pro-Magnitsky documentary was. I did find a streaming service that appeared to have the film available. ..."
"... Why are so many people–corporate executives, governments, journalists, politicians–afraid of William Browder? Why isn't Andrei Nekrasov's film available via digital versatile disk, for sale on line? Mr. Parry, why can't you find it? Oh, wait: You did! Heaven forbid we, your readers, should screen it. Since you, too, are helping keep that film a big fat secret at least give us a few clues as to where we can find it. Throw us a bone! Thank you. ..."
"... Hysterical agit-prop troll insists that world trembles in fear of "genuine American hero" William Browder. John McCain in 2012 was too busy trembling to notice that Browder had given up his US citizenship in 1998 in order to better profit from the Russian financial crisis. ..."
"... Abe – and to escape U.S. taxes. ..."
"... Excellent report and analysis. Thanks for timely reminder regarding the Magitsky story and the fascinating background regarding Andrei Nekrasov's film, in particular its metamorphosis and subsequent aggressive suppression. Both of those factors render the film a particular credibility and wish on my part to view it. ..."
"... I am beginning to feel more and more like the citizens of the old USSR, who, were to my recollection and understanding back in the 50's and 60's:. Longing to read and hear facts suppressed by the communist state, dependent upon the Voice of America and underground news sources within the Soviet Union for the truth. RU, Consortium news, et. al. seem somewhat a parallel, and 1984 not so distant. ..."
"... Last night, After watching Max Boot self destruct on Tucker Carlson, i was inspired to watch episode 2 of The Putin Interviews. I felt enlightened. If only the Establishment Media could turn from promoting its agenda of shaping and suppressing the news into accurately reporting it. ..."
"... Media corruption is not so new. Yellow journalism around the turn of the 19th century, took us into a progression of wars. The War to End All Wars didn't. Blame the munitions makers and the Military Industrial Complex if you will, but a corrupt medial, at the very least enabled a progression of wars over the last 120 or so years. ..."
"... Nekrasov, though he's a Putin critic, is a genuine hero in this instance. He ulitimately put his preconceptions aside and took the story where it truly led him. Nekrasov deserves boatloads of praise for his handling of Browder and his final documentary film product. ..."
"... "[Veselnitskaya] traveled to Washington in the days after her Trump Tower meeting and attended a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, according to The Washington Post." The other day I saw photos of her sitting right behind Amb. McFaul in some past hearing. How did she get a seat on the front row? ..."
"... "The approach taken by Brennan's task force in assessing Russia and its president seems eerily reminiscent of the analytical blinders that hampered the U.S. intelligence community when it came to assessing the objectives and intent of Saddam Hussein and his inner leadership regarding weapons of mass destruction. The Russia NIA notes, 'Many of the key judgments rely on a body of reporting from multiple sources that are consistent with our understanding of Russian behavior.' There is no better indication of a tendency toward 'group think' than that statement. ..."
"... "The acknowledged deficit on the part of the U.S. intelligence community of fact-driven insight into the specifics of Russian presidential decision-making, and the nature of Vladimir Putin as an individual in general, likewise seems problematic. The U.S. intelligence community was hard wired into pre-conceived notions about how and what Saddam Hussein would think and decide, and as such remained blind to the fact that he would order the totality of his weapons of mass destruction to be destroyed in the summer of 1991, or that he could be telling the truth when later declaring that Iraq was free of WMD. ..."
"... Magnitsky Act in Canada has been based on made-up `facts` as Globe & Mail reporting proves. Not news, but deepens my concern about Canada following the Cold War without examination. ..."
"... Bill Browder's grandfather was Earl Browder, leader of the CPUSA from the the late 30s to late 40s. His father was also a communist. Bill jr parlayed those connections with the Soviet apparatchiks to gain a foothold in looting Russia of its state assets during the 1990s. No he was not a communist but neither were the leaders of the Soviet Union at the time of its dissolution (in name yes, but in fact not). ..."
"... I've also heard that it was the Jewish commissars who, when the USSR fell apart, rushed off to grab everything they could (with the help of outside Jewish money) and became the Russian oligarchs we hear about today. This is probably what Britton is getting at: "His father has a communist past." You go from running the government to owning it. Anti-Putin because Putin put a stop to them. ..."
"... backwardsevolution: I worked with a Soviet emigre engineer – Jewish – on the same project in an Engineering design and construction company during early 1990's. He immigrated with his family around 1991. In Soviet Union, there being no private financial institutions or lawyers so to speak , many Jews went into science and engineering. A very interesting person, we were close work place friends. His elder brother had stayed behind back in Russia. His brother was in Moscow and involved in this plunder going on there. He used to tell me all these hair raising first hand stories about what was going on in Russia during that time. All the plunder flowed into the Western Countries. ..."
"... I have read all the comments up to yours you have told it like it was in Russia in those years. Browder was the king of the crooks looting Russia. ..."
"... I remember reading Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine," but I just could not get through the chapter on the USSR falling apart. I started reading it, but I didn't want to finish it (and I didn't) because it just made me angry. The West was too unfair! Russia was asking for help, but instead the West just looted. I'd say that Russia was very lucky to have someone like Putin clean it up. ..."
"... The Canadian Minister Chrysta Freeland met with William Brawder in Davos a few months ago " -- Birds of a feather flock together. Mrs. Chrystal Freeland has a very interesting background for which she is very proud of: her granddad was a Ukrainian Nazi collaborator denounced by Jewish investigators: https://consortiumnews.com/2017/02/27/a-nazi-skeleton-in-the-family-closet/ ..."
Jul 13, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

Exclusive: A documentary debunking the Magnitsky myth, which was an opening salvo in the New Cold War, was largely blocked from viewing in the West but has now become a factor in Russia-gate, reports Robert Parry.

Near the center of the current furor over Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer in June 2016 is a documentary that almost no one in the West has been allowed to see, a film that flips the script on the story of the late Sergei Magnitsky and his employer, hedge-fund operator William Browder.

The Russian lawyer, Natalie Veselnitskaya, who met with Trump Jr. and other advisers to Donald Trump Sr.'s campaign, represented a company that had run afoul of a U.S. investigation into money-laundering allegedly connected to the Magnitsky case and his death in a Russian prison in 2009. His death sparked a campaign spearheaded by Browder, who used his wealth and clout to lobby the U.S. Congress in 2012 to enact the Magnitsky Act to punish alleged human rights abusers in Russia. The law became what might be called the first shot in the New Cold War.

According to Browder's narrative, companies ostensibly under his control had been hijacked by corrupt Russian officials in furtherance of a $230 million tax-fraud scheme; he then dispatched his "lawyer" Magnitsky to investigate and – after supposedly uncovering evidence of the fraud – Magnitsky blew the whistle only to be arrested by the same corrupt officials who then had him locked up in prison where he died of heart failure from physical abuse.

Despite Russian denials – and the "dog ate my homework" quality of Browder's self-serving narrative – the dramatic tale became a cause celebre in the West. The story eventually attracted the attention of Russian filmmaker Andrei Nekrasov, a known critic of President Vladimir Putin. Nekrasov decided to produce a docu-drama that would present Browder's narrative to a wider public. Nekrasov even said he hoped that he might recruit Browder as the narrator of the tale.

However, the project took an unexpected turn when Nekrasov's research kept turning up contradictions to Browder's storyline, which began to look more and more like a corporate cover story. Nekrasov discovered that a woman working in Browder's company was the actual whistleblower and that Magnitsky – rather than a crusading lawyer – was an accountant who was implicated in the scheme.

So, the planned docudrama suddenly was transformed into a documentary with a dramatic reversal as Nekrasov struggles with what he knows will be a dangerous decision to confront Browder with what appear to be deceptions. In the film, you see Browder go from a friendly collaborator into an angry adversary who tries to bully Nekrasov into backing down.

Blocked Premiere

Ultimately, Nekrasov completes his extraordinary film – entitled "The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes" – and it was set for a premiere at the European Parliament in Brussels in April 2016. However, at the last moment – faced with Browder's legal threats – the parliamentarians pulled the plug. Nekrasov encountered similar resistance in the United States, a situation that, in part, brought Natalie Veselnitskaya into this controversy.

Film director Andrei Nekrasov, who produced "The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes."

As a lawyer defending Prevezon, a real-estate company registered in Cyprus, on a money-laundering charge, she was dealing with U.S. prosecutors in New York City and, in that role, became an advocate for lifting the U.S. sanctions, The Washington Post reported.

That was when she turned to promoter Rob Goldstone to set up a meeting at Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr. To secure the sit-down on June 9, 2016, Goldstone dangled the prospect that Veselnitskaya had some derogatory financial information from the Russian government about Russians supporting the Democratic National Committee. Trump Jr. jumped at the possibility and brought senior Trump campaign advisers, Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, along.

By all accounts, Veselnitskaya had little or nothing to offer about the DNC and turned the conversation instead to the Magnitsky Act and Putin's retaliatory measure to the sanctions, canceling a program in which American parents adopted Russian children. One source told me that Veselnitskaya also wanted to enhance her stature in Russia with the boast that she had taken a meeting at Trump Tower with Trump's son.

But another goal of Veselnitskaya's U.S. trip was to participate in an effort to give Americans a chance to see Nekrasov's blacklisted documentary. She traveled to Washington in the days after her Trump Tower meeting and attended a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, according to The Washington Post.

There were hopes to show the documentary to members of Congress but the offer was rebuffed. Instead a room was rented at the Newseum near Capitol Hill. Browder's lawyers. who had successfully intimidated the European Parliament, also tried to strong arm the Newseum, but its officials responded that they were only renting out a room and that they had allowed other controversial presentations in the past.

Their stand wasn't exactly a profile in courage. "We're not going to allow them not to show the film," said Scott Williams, the chief operating officer of the Newseum. "We often have people renting for events that other people would love not to have happen."

In an article about the controversy in June 2016, The New York Times added that "A screening at the Newseum is especially controversial because it could attract lawmakers or their aides." Heaven forbid!

One-Time Showing

So, Nekrasov's documentary got a one-time showing with Veselnitskaya reportedly in attendance and with a follow-up discussion moderated by journalist Seymour Hersh. However, except for that audience, the public of the United States and Europe has been essentially shielded from the documentary's discoveries, all the better for the Magnitsky myth to retain its power as a seminal propaganda moment of the New Cold War.

Financier William Browder (right) with Magnitsky's widow and son, along with European parliamentarians.

After the Newseum presentation, a Washington Post editorial branded Nekrasov's documentary Russian "agit-prop" and sought to discredit Nekrasov without addressing his many documented examples of Browder's misrepresenting both big and small facts in the case. Instead, the Post accused Nekrasov of using "facts highly selectively" and insinuated that he was merely a pawn in the Kremlin's "campaign to discredit Mr. Browder and the Magnitsky Act."

The Post also misrepresented the structure of the film by noting that it mixed fictional scenes with real-life interviews and action, a point that was technically true but willfully misleading because the fictional scenes were from Nekrasov's original idea for a docu-drama that he shows as part of explaining his evolution from a believer in Browder's self-exculpatory story to a skeptic. But the Post's deception is something that almost no American would realize because almost no one got to see the film.

The Post concluded smugly: "The film won't grab a wide audience, but it offers yet another example of the Kremlin's increasingly sophisticated efforts to spread its illiberal values and mind-set abroad. In the European Parliament and on French and German television networks, showings were put off recently after questions were raised about the accuracy of the film, including by Magnitsky's family.

"We don't worry that Mr. Nekrasov's film was screened here, in an open society. But it is important that such slick spin be fully exposed for its twisted story and sly deceptions."

The Post's gleeful editorial had the feel of something you might read in a totalitarian society where the public only hears about dissent when the Official Organs of the State denounce some almost unknown person for saying something that almost no one heard.

New Paradigm

The Post's satisfaction that Nekrasov's documentary would not draw a large audience represents what is becoming a new paradigm in U.S. mainstream journalism, the idea that it is the media's duty to protect the American people from seeing divergent narratives on sensitive geopolitical issues.

Over the past year, we have seen a growing hysteria about "Russian propaganda" and "fake news" with The New York Times and other major news outlets eagerly awaiting algorithms that can be unleashed on the Internet to eradicate information that groups like Google's First Draft Coalition deem "false."

First Draft consists of the Times, the Post, other mainstream outlets, and establishment-approved online news sites, such as Bellingcat with links to the pro-NATO think tank, Atlantic Council. First Draft's job will be to serve as a kind of Ministry of Truth and thus shield the public from information that is deemed propaganda or untrue.

In the meantime, there is the ad hoc approach that was applied to Nekrasov's documentary. Having missed the Newseum showing, I was only able to view the film because I was given a special password to an online version.

From searches that I did on Wednesday, Nekrasov's film was not available on Amazon although a pro-Magnitsky documentary was. I did find a streaming service that appeared to have the film available.

But the Post's editors were right in their expectation that "The film won't grab a wide audience." Instead, it has become a good example of how political and legal pressure can effectively black out what we used to call "the other side of the story." The film now, however, has unexpectedly become a factor in the larger drama of Russia-gate and the drive to remove Donald Trump Sr. from the White House.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America's Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com ).

Joseph A. Haran, Jr. , July 13, 2017 at 2:13 pm

Why are so many people–corporate executives, governments, journalists, politicians–afraid of William Browder? Why isn't Andrei Nekrasov's film available via digital versatile disk, for sale on line? Mr. Parry, why can't you find it? Oh, wait: You did! Heaven forbid we, your readers, should screen it. Since you, too, are helping keep that film a big fat secret at least give us a few clues as to where we can find it. Throw us a bone! Thank you.

Rob Roy , July 13, 2017 at 2:45 pm

Parry isn't keeping the film viewing a secret. He was given a private password and perhaps can get permission to let the readers here have it. It isn't up to Parry himself but rather to the person(s) who have the rights to the password. I've come across this problem before.

ToivoS , July 13, 2017 at 4:01 pm

Parry wrote: I did find a streaming service that appeared to have the film available.

Any link?? I am willing to buy it.

Lisa , July 13, 2017 at 6:28 pm

This may not be of much help, as the film is dubbed in Russian. If you want to look for the Russian versions on the internet, search for: "????? ?????? ????????? "????? ???????????. ?? ????????"

https://my.mail.ru/bk/n-osetrova/video/71/18682.html?time=155&from=videoplayer

I'll keep looking for the film with translation into some other language.

Lisa , July 13, 2017 at 6:31 pm

Sorry, the Russian text did not appear. Try with latin alphabet: Film Andreia Nekrasova "Zakon Magnitskogo. Za kulisami"

Lisa , July 13, 2017 at 6:45 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8d1ylakLMNU

This is the same dubbed version, on youtube.

Abe , July 13, 2017 at 5:21 pm

Hysterical agit-prop troll insists that world trembles in fear of "genuine American hero" William Browder. John McCain in 2012 was too busy trembling to notice that Browder had given up his US citizenship in 1998 in order to better profit from the Russian financial crisis.

backwardsevolution , July 13, 2017 at 5:51 pm

Abe – and to escape U.S. taxes.

incontinent reader , July 13, 2017 at 6:24 pm

Well stated.

Vincent Castigliola , July 13, 2017 at 2:38 pm

Mr. Parry,

Excellent report and analysis. Thanks for timely reminder regarding the Magitsky story and the fascinating background regarding Andrei Nekrasov's film, in particular its metamorphosis and subsequent aggressive suppression. Both of those factors render the film a particular credibility and wish on my part to view it.

Is there any chance you can share information regarding a means of accessing the forbidden film?

I am beginning to feel more and more like the citizens of the old USSR, who, were to my recollection and understanding back in the 50's and 60's:. Longing to read and hear facts suppressed by the communist state, dependent upon the Voice of America and underground news sources within the Soviet Union for the truth. RU, Consortium news, et. al. seem somewhat a parallel, and 1984 not so distant.

Last night, After watching Max Boot self destruct on Tucker Carlson, i was inspired to watch episode 2 of The Putin Interviews. I felt enlightened. If only the Establishment Media could turn from promoting its agenda of shaping and suppressing the news into accurately reporting it.

Media corruption is not so new. Yellow journalism around the turn of the 19th century, took us into a progression of wars. The War to End All Wars didn't. Blame the munitions makers and the Military Industrial Complex if you will, but a corrupt medial, at the very least enabled a progression of wars over the last 120 or so years.

Demonizing other countries is bad enough, but wilfully ignoring the potential for a nuclear war to end not only war, but life as we know it, is appalling.

Anna , July 13, 2017 at 5:54 pm

"After watching Max Boot self destruct on Tucker Carlson "
Am I the only one who thinks that Max Boot should have been institutionalized for some time already? He is not well.

Vincent Castigliola , July 13, 2017 at 9:41 pm

Anna,
Perhaps Max can share a suite with John McCain. Sadly, the illness is widespread and sometimes seems to be in the majority. Neo con/lib both are adamant in finding enemies and imposing punishment.

Finding splinters, ignoring beams. Changing regimes everywhere. Making the world safe for Democracy. Unless a man they don't like get elected

Anna , July 14, 2017 at 9:31 am

Max Boot parents are Russain Jews who seemingly instilled in him a rabid hatred for everything Russian. The same is with Aperovitch, the CrowdStrike fraudster. The first Soviet (Bolshevik) government was 85% Jewish. Considering what happened to Russia under Bolsheviks, it seems that Russians are supremely tolerant people.

orwell , July 14, 2017 at 3:44 pm

Anna, Anti-Semitism will get you NOWHERE, and you should be ashamed of yourself for injecting such HATRED into the rational discussion here.

Cal , July 14, 2017 at 8:03 pm

Dear orwell

re Anna

Its not anti Semitic if its true .and its true he is a Russian Jew and its very obvious he hates Russia–as does the whole Jewish Zionist crowd in the US.

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 1:02 am

orwell, I wonder why the truth always turns out to be so anti-semitic!?

Taras77 , July 13, 2017 at 11:17 pm

I hope you caught the preceding tucker interview with Ralph Peters, who says he is a retired us army LTC. He came off as completely deranged and hysterical. The two interviews back to back struck me as neo con desperation and panic. My respect for Tucker just went up for taking on these two wackos.

Zachary Smith , July 13, 2017 at 2:51 pm

The fact that the film is being suppressed by everybody is significant to me. I don't know a thing about the "facts" of the Magnitsky case, and a quick look at the results of a Google search suggests this film isn't going to be available to me unless I shell out some unknown amount of money.

If the producers want the film to be seen, perhaps they ought to release it for download to any interested parties for a nominal sum. This will mean they won't make any profit, but on the other hand they will be able to spit in the eyes of the censors.

Dan Mason , July 13, 2017 at 6:42 pm

I went searching the net for access to this film and found that I was blocked at every turn. I did find a few links which all seemed to go to the same destination which claimed to provide access once I registered with their site. I decided to avoid that route. I don't really have that much interest in the Magnitsky affair, but I do wonder why we are being denied access to information. Who has this kind of influence, and why are they so fearful. I'm really afraid that we already live in a largely hidden Orwellian world. Now where did I put that tin foil hat?

orwell , July 14, 2017 at 3:48 pm

The Orwellian World is NOT HIDDEN, it is clearly visible.

Drew Hunkins , July 13, 2017 at 2:53 pm

Nekrasov, though he's a Putin critic, is a genuine hero in this instance. He ulitimately put his preconceptions aside and took the story where it truly led him. Nekrasov deserves boatloads of praise for his handling of Browder and his final documentary film product.

backwardsevolution , July 13, 2017 at 3:30 pm

Drew – good comment. It's very hard to "turn", isn't it? I wonder if many people appreciate what it takes to do this. Easier to justify, turn a blind eye, but to actually stop, question, think, and then follow where the story leads you takes courage and strength.

BannanaBoat , July 13, 2017 at 6:12 pm

Especially when your bucking an aggressive billionaire.

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 1:49 am

BannanaBoat – that too!

Zim , July 13, 2017 at 3:11 pm

This is interesting:

"In December 2015, The Wall Street Journal reported that Hillary Clinton opposed the Magnitsky Act while serving as secretary of state. Her opposition coincided with Bill Clinton giving a speech in Moscow for Renaissance Capital, a Russian investment bank! for which he was paid $500,000.

"Mr. Clinton also received a substantial payout in 2010 from Renaissance Capital, a Russian investment bank whose executives were at risk of being hurt by possible U.S. sanctions tied to a complex and controversial case of alleged corruption in Russia.

Members of Congress wrote to Mrs. Clinton in 2010 seeking to deny visas to people who had been implicated by Russian accountant Sergei Magnitsky, who was jailed and died in prison after he uncovered evidence of a large tax-refund fraud. William Browder, a foreign investor in Russia who had hired Mr. Magnitsky, alleged that the accountant had turned up evidence that Renaissance officials, among others, participated in the fraud."

The State Department opposed the sanctions bill at the time, as did the Russian government. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pushed Hillary Clinton to oppose the legislation during a meeting in St. Petersburg in June 2012, citing that U.S.-Russia relations would suffer as a result."

More: http://observer.com/2017/07/natalia-veselnitskaya-hillary-clinton-magnitsky-act/

Virginia , July 13, 2017 at 6:13 pm

Very interesting, Zim.

Bart in Virginia , July 13, 2017 at 3:15 pm

"[Veselnitskaya] traveled to Washington in the days after her Trump Tower meeting and attended a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, according to The Washington Post." The other day I saw photos of her sitting right behind Amb. McFaul in some past hearing. How did she get a seat on the front row?

Now I remember that Post editorial. I was one of only 20 commenters before they shut down comments. It was some heavy pearl clutching.

Cal , July 13, 2017 at 3:31 pm

WOW..excellent reporting.

BobH , July 13, 2017 at 3:35 pm

nice backgrounder for an ever evolving story censorship is censorship by any other name!

BobH , July 13, 2017 at 3:38 pm

afterthought couldn't the film be shown on RT America?

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 1:11 am

Would that not enable Bowder's employees online to claim that this documentary is Russian state propaganda, which it obviously is not because it would have been made available for free everywhere already just like RT. I believe that Nekrasov does not like RT and RT probably still does not like Nekrasov. The point of RT has never been the truth then the alternative point of view, as they advertised: Audi alteram partem.

Abe , July 13, 2017 at 3:41 pm

"The approach taken by Brennan's task force in assessing Russia and its president seems eerily reminiscent of the analytical blinders that hampered the U.S. intelligence community when it came to assessing the objectives and intent of Saddam Hussein and his inner leadership regarding weapons of mass destruction. The Russia NIA notes, 'Many of the key judgments rely on a body of reporting from multiple sources that are consistent with our understanding of Russian behavior.' There is no better indication of a tendency toward 'group think' than that statement.

Moreover, when one reflects on the fact much of this 'body of reporting' was shoehorned after the fact into an analytical premise predicated on a single source of foreign-provided intelligence, that statement suddenly loses much of its impact.

"The acknowledged deficit on the part of the U.S. intelligence community of fact-driven insight into the specifics of Russian presidential decision-making, and the nature of Vladimir Putin as an individual in general, likewise seems problematic. The U.S. intelligence community was hard wired into pre-conceived notions about how and what Saddam Hussein would think and decide, and as such remained blind to the fact that he would order the totality of his weapons of mass destruction to be destroyed in the summer of 1991, or that he could be telling the truth when later declaring that Iraq was free of WMD.

'President Putin has repeatedly and vociferously denied any Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. Those who cite the findings of the Russia NIA as indisputable proof to the contrary, however, dismiss this denial out of hand. And yet nowhere in the Russia NIA is there any evidence that those who prepared it conducted anything remotely resembling the kind of 'analysis of alternatives' mandated by the ODNI when it comes to analytic standards used to prepare intelligence community assessments and estimates. Nor is there any evidence that the CIA's vaunted 'Red Cell' was approached to provide counterintuitive assessments of premises such as 'What if President Putin is telling the truth?'

'Throughout its history, the NIC has dealt with sources of information that far exceeded any sensitivity that might attach to Brennan's foreign intelligence source. The NIC had two experts that it could have turned to oversee a project like the Russia NIA!the NIO for Cyber Issues, and the Mission Manager of the Russian and Eurasia Mission Center; logic dictates that both should have been called upon, given the subject matter overlap between cyber intrusion and Russian intent.

'The excuse that Brennan's source was simply too sensitive to be shared with these individuals, and the analysts assigned to them, is ludicrous!both the NIO for cyber issues and the CIA's mission manager for Russia and Eurasia are cleared to receive the most highly classified intelligence and, moreover, are specifically mandated to oversee projects such as an investigation into Russian meddling in the American electoral process.

'President Trump has come under repeated criticism for his perceived slighting of the U.S. intelligence community in repeatedly citing the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction intelligence failure when downplaying intelligence reports, including the Russia NIA, about Russian interference in the 2016 election. Adding insult to injury, the president's most recent comments were made on foreign soil (Poland), on the eve of his first meeting with President Putin, at the G-20 Conference in Hamburg, Germany, where the issue of Russian meddling was the first topic on the agenda.

"The politics of the wisdom of the timing and location of such observations aside, the specific content of the president's statements appear factually sound."

Throwing a Curveball at 'Intelligence Community Consensus' on Russia By Scott Ritter http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/did-17-intelligence-agencies-really-come-to-consensus-on-russia/

Joe Tedesky , July 13, 2017 at 4:13 pm

Thanks Abe once again, for providing us with news which will never be printed or aired in our MSM. Brennan may ignore the NIC, as Congress and the Executive Branch constantly avoid paying attention to the GAO. Why even have these agencies, if our leaders aren't going to listen them?

Virginia , July 13, 2017 at 6:16 pm

Abe, I'm always amazed at how much you know. Thank you for sharing. If you have your comments in article form or on a site where they can be shared, I'd really like to know about it. I've tried, but I garble the many points you make when trying to explain historical events you've told us about.

Skip Scott , July 14, 2017 at 9:08 am

Thanks Abe. You are a real asset to us here at CN.

John V. Walsh , July 13, 2017 at 3:54 pm

Very good article! The entire Magnitsky saga has become so convoluted and mired in controversy and propaganda that it is very hard to understand. I remember vaguely the controversy surrounding the showing of the film at the Newseum. it is especially impressive that Nekrasov changed his opinion as fcts unfolded.

I will now try to get the docudrama and watch it.
If anyone has suggestions on how to do this, please let me know via a response. here.
Thanks.

Roger Annis , July 13, 2017 at 4:02 pm

A 'Magnitsky Act' in Canada was approved by the (appointed) Senate several months ago and is now undergoing fine tuning in the House of Commons prior to a third and final vote of approval. The proposed law has the unanimous support of the parties in Parliament.

A column in today's Globe and Mail daily by the newspaper's 'chief political writer' tiptoes around the Magnitsky story, never once daring to admit that a contrary narrative exists to that of Bill Browder.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/when-it-comes-to-magnitsky-laws-its-clear-what-russia-is-looking-for/article35678618/

John-Albert Eadie , July 13, 2017 at 5:01 pm

Magnitsky Act in Canada has been based on made-up `facts` as Globe & Mail reporting proves. Not news, but deepens my concern about Canada following the Cold War without examination.

backwardsevolution , July 13, 2017 at 5:56 pm

Roger Annis – just little lemmings following the leader. Disgusting. I hope you posted a comment at the Globe and Mail, Roger, with a link to this article.

Britton , July 13, 2017 at 4:05 pm

Browder is a Communist Jew, his father has a Communist past according to his background so I know I can't trust anything he says. Hes just one of many shady interests undermining Putin I've seen over the years. His book Red Notice is just as shady. Good reporting Consortium News. Fox News promotes Browder like crazy every chance they get especially Fox Business channel.

Joe Average , July 13, 2017 at 5:06 pm

"Browder is a Communist " Hedge Fund managers are hardly Communist – that's an oxymoron.

ToivoS , July 13, 2017 at 6:02 pm

Bill Browder's grandfather was Earl Browder, leader of the CPUSA from the the late 30s to late 40s. His father was also a communist. Bill jr parlayed those connections with the Soviet apparatchiks to gain a foothold in looting Russia of its state assets during the 1990s. No he was not a communist but neither were the leaders of the Soviet Union at the time of its dissolution (in name yes, but in fact not).

Joe Average , July 13, 2017 at 6:34 pm

ToivoS,

thank you for this background information.

My main intention had been to straighten out the blurring of calling a hedge fund manager communist. Nowadays everything gets blurred by people misrepresenting political concepts. Either the people have been dumbed-down by misinformation or misrepresenting is done in order to keep neo-liberalism the dominant economical model. On many occasions I had read comments of people seemingly believing that Nationalsocialism had been some variant of socialism. Even the ideas of Bernie Sanders had been misrepresented as socialist instead of social democratic ones.

backwardsevolution , July 13, 2017 at 6:21 pm

Joe Average – Dave P. mentioned Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's book entitled "Two Hundred Years Together" the other day. I've been reading a long synopsis of this book. What Britton says appears to be quite true. I don't know about Browder, but from what I've read the Jews were instrumental in the communist party, in the deaths of so many Russians. It wasn't just the Jews, but they played a big part. It's no wonder Solzhenitsyn's book has been "lost in translation", at least into English, for so many years.

I've also heard that it was the Jewish commissars who, when the USSR fell apart, rushed off to grab everything they could (with the help of outside Jewish money) and became the Russian oligarchs we hear about today. This is probably what Britton is getting at: "His father has a communist past." You go from running the government to owning it. Anti-Putin because Putin put a stop to them.

Dave P. , July 13, 2017 at 7:37 pm

backwardsevolution: I worked with a Soviet emigre engineer – Jewish – on the same project in an Engineering design and construction company during early 1990's. He immigrated with his family around 1991. In Soviet Union, there being no private financial institutions or lawyers so to speak , many Jews went into science and engineering. A very interesting person, we were close work place friends. His elder brother had stayed behind back in Russia. His brother was in Moscow and involved in this plunder going on there. He used to tell me all these hair raising first hand stories about what was going on in Russia during that time. All the plunder flowed into the Western Countries.

In recent history, no country went through this kind of plunder on a scale Russia went through during ten or fifteen years starting in 1992. Russia was a very badly ravaged country when Putin took over. Means of production, finance, all came to halt, and society itself had completely broken down. It appears that the West has all the intentions to do it again.

Bruce Walker , July 13, 2017 at 9:29 pm

I have read all the comments up to yours you have told it like it was in Russia in those years. Browder was the king of the crooks looting Russia. Then he got to John McCain with all his lies and bullshit and was responsible for the sanctions on Russia. All the comments aboutBrowders grandfather andCommunist party are all true but hardly important. Except that it probably was how Browder was able to get his fingers on the pie in Russia. And he sure did get his fingers in the pie BIG TIME.

I am a Canadian and am aware of Maginsky Act in Canada. Our Minister Chrystal Freeland met with William Brawder in Davos a few months ago both of these two you could say are not fans of Putin, I certainly don't know what they spoke about but other than lies from Browder there is no reason she should have been talking with him. I have made comments on other forums regarding these two meeting. Read Browders book and hopefully see the documentary that this article is about. When I read his book I knew instantly that he was a crook a charloten and a liar. Just the kind of folk John McCain and a lot of other folks in US politics love. You all have a nice Peacefull day

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 12:38 am

Joe Average – "I guess that this book puts blame for Communism entirely on the Jewish people and that this gave even further rise to antisemitism in the Germany of the 1930's."

No, it doesn't put the blame entirely on the Jews; it just spells out that they did play a large part. As one Jewish scholar said, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was too much of an academic, too intelligent to ever put the blame entirely on one group. But something like 40 – 60 million died – shot, taken out on boats with rocks around their necks and thrown overboard, starved, gassed in rail cars, poisoned, worked to death, froze, you name it. Every other human slaughter pales in comparison. Good old man, so civilized (sarc)!

But someone(s) has been instrumental in keeping this book from being translated into English (or so I've read many places online). Solzhenitsyn's "Gulag Archipelago" and his other books have been translated, but not this one. (Although I just found one site that has almost all of the chapters translated, but not all). Several people ordered the book off Amazon, only to find out that it was in the Russian language. LOL

Solzhenitsyn does say at one point in the book: "Communist rebellions in Germany post-WWI was a big reason for the revival of anti-Semitism (as there was no serious anti-Semitism in the imperial [Kaiser] Germany of 1870 – 1918)."

Lots of Jewish people made it into the upper levels of the Soviet government, academia, etc. (and lots of them were murdered too). I might skip reading these types of books until I get older. Too bleak. Hard enough reading about the day-to-day stuff here without going back in time for more fun!

I remember reading Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine," but I just could not get through the chapter on the USSR falling apart. I started reading it, but I didn't want to finish it (and I didn't) because it just made me angry. The West was too unfair! Russia was asking for help, but instead the West just looted. I'd say that Russia was very lucky to have someone like Putin clean it up.

Keep smiling, Joe.

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 12:58 am

Dave P. – I told you, you are a wealth of information, a walking encyclopedia. Interesting about your co-worker. Sounds like it was a free-for-all in Russia. Yes, I totally agree that Putin has done and is doing all he can to bring his country back up. Very difficult job he is doing, and I hope he is successful at keeping the West out as much as he can, at least until Russia is strong and sure enough to invite them in on their own terms.

Now go and tell your wife what I said about you being a "walking encyclopedia". She'll probably have a good laugh. (Not that you're not, but you know what she'll say: "Okay, smartie, now go and do the dishes.")

Chucky LeRoi , July 14, 2017 at 9:56 am

Just some small scale, local color kind of stuff, but living in the USA, west coast specifically, it was quite noticeable in the mid to late '90's how many Russians with money were suddenly appearing. No apparent skills or 'jobs', but seemingly able to pay for stuff. Expensive stuff.

A neighbor invited us to her 'place in the mountains', which turned out to be where a lumber company had almost terra-formed an area and was selling off the results. Her advice: When you go to the lake (i.e., the low area now gathering runoff, paddle boats rentals, concession stand) you will see a lot of men with huge stomachs and tiny Speedos. They will be very rude, pushy, confrontational. Ignore them, DO NOT comment on their rudeness or try to deal with their manners. They are Russians, and the amount of trouble it will stir up – and probable repercussions – are simply not worth it.

Back in town, the anecdotes start piling up quickly. I am talking crowbars through windows (for a perceived insult). A beating where the victim – who was probably trying something shady – was so pulped the emergency room staff couldn't tell if the implement used was a 2X4 or a baseball bat. When found he had with $3k in his pocket: robbery was not the motive. More traffic accidents involving guys with very nice cars and serious attitude problems. I could go on. More and more often somewhere in the relating of these incidents the phrase " this Russian guy " would come up. It was the increased use of this phrase that was so noticeable.

And now the disclaimer.

Before anybody goes off, I am not anti-Russian, Russo-phobic, what have you. I studied the Russian language in high school and college (admittedly decades ago). My tax guy is Russian. I love him. My day to day interactions have led me to this pop psychology observation: the extreme conditions that produced that people and culture produced extremes. When they are of the good, loving , caring, cultured, helpful sort, you could ask for no better friends. The generosity can be embarrassing. When they are of the materialistic, evil, self-centered don't f**k with me I am THE BADDEST ASS ON THE PLANET sort, the level of mania and self-importance is impossible to deal with, just get as far away as possible. It's worked for me.

Joe Average , July 13, 2017 at 8:10 pm

backwardsevolution,

thanks for the info. I'll add the book to the list of books onto my to-read list. As far as I know a Kibbutz could be described as a Communist microcosm. The whole idea of Communism itself is based on Marx (a Jew by birth). A while ago I had started reading "Mein Kampf". I've got to finish the book, in order to see if my assumption is correct. I guess that this book puts blame for Communism entirely on the Jewish people and that this gave even further rise to antisemitism in the Germany of the 1930's.

The most known Russian Oligarchs that I've heard of are mainly of Jewish origin, but as far as I know they had been too young to be commissars at the time of the demise of the USSR. At least one aspect I've read of many times is that a lot of them built their fortunes with the help of quite shady business dealings.

With regard to President Putin I've read that he made a deal with the oligarchs: they should pay their taxes, keep/invest their money in Russia and keep out of politics. In return he wouldn't dig too deep into their past. Right at the moment everybody in the West is against President Putin, because he stopped the looting of his country and its citizens and that's something our Western oligarchs and financial institutions don't like.

On a side note: Several years ago I had started to read several volumes about German history. Back then I didn't notice an important aspect that should attract my attention a few years later when reading about the rise of John D. Rockefeller. Charlemagne (Charles the Great) took over power from the Merovingians. Prior to becoming King of the Franks he had been Hausmeier (Mayor of the Palace) for the Merovingians. Mayor of the Palace was the title of the manager of the household, which seems to be similar to a procurator and/or accountant (bookkeeper). The similarity of the beginnings of both careers struck me. John D. Rockefeller started as a bookkeeper. If you look at Bill Gates you'll realize that he was smart enough to buy an operating system for a few dollars, improved it and sold it to IBM on a large scale. The widely celebrated Steve Jobs was basically the marketing guy, whilst the real brain behind (the product) Apple had been Steve Wozniak.

Another side note: If we're going down the path of neo-liberalism it will lead us straight back to feudalism – at least if the economy doesn't blow up (PCR, Michael Hudson, Mike Whitney, Mike Maloney, Jim Rogers, Richard D. Wolff, and many more economists make excellent points that our present Western economy can't go on forever and is kept alive artificially).

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 12:50 am

Joe Average – somehow my reply to you ended up above your post. What? How did that happen? You can find it there. Thanks for the interesting info about John D. Rockefeller, Gates, Jobs and Wozniak. Some are good managers, others good at sales, while others are the creative inventors.

Yes, Joe, I totally agree that we are headed back to feudalism. I don't think we'll have much choice as the oil is running out. We'll probably be okay, but our children? I worry about them. They'll notice a big change in their lifetimes. The discovery and capture of oil pulled forward a large population. As we scale back, we could be in trouble, food-wise. Or at least it looks that way.

Thanks, Joe.

Miranda Keefe , July 14, 2017 at 5:48 am

Charlemagne did not take over from the Merovingians. The Mayor of the Palace was not an accountant.

During the 7th Century the Mayor of the Place more and more became the actual ruler of the Franks. The office had existed for over a century and was basically the "prime minister" to the king. By the time Pepin of Herstal, a scion of a powerful Frankish family, took the position in 680, the king was ceremonial leader doing ritual and the Mayor ruled- like the relationship of the Emperor and the Shogun in Japan. In 687 Pepin's Austrasia conquered Neustria and Burgundy and he added "Duke of the Franks" to his titles. The office became hereditary.

When Pepin died in 714 there was some unrest as nobles from various parts of the joint kingdoms attempted to get different ones of his heirs in the office until his son Charles Martel took the reins in 718. This is the famous Charles Martel who defeated the Moors at Tours in 732. But that was not his only accomplishment as he basically extended the Frankish kingdom to include Saxony. Charles not only ruled but when the king died he picked which possible heir would become king. Finally near the end of his reign he didn't even bother replacing the king and the throne was empty.

When Charles Martel died in 741 he followed Frankish custom and divided his kingdom among his sons. By 747 his younger son, Pepin the Short, had consolidated his rule and with the support of the Pope, deposed the last Merovingian King and became the first Carolingian King in 751- the dynasty taking its name from Charles Martel. Thus Pepin reunited the two aspects of the Frankish ruler, combining the rule of the Mayor with the ceremonial reign of the King into the new Kingship.

Pepin expanded the kingdom beyond the Frankish lands even more and his son, Charlemagne, continued that. Charlemagne was 8 when his father took the title of King. Charlemagne never was the Mayor of the Palace, but grew up as the prince. He became King of the Franks in 768 ruling with his brother, sole King in 781, and then started becoming King of other countries until he united it all in 800 as the restored Western Roman Emperor.

When he died in 814 the Empire was divided into three Kingdoms and they never reunited again. The western one evolved into France. The eastern one evolved in the Holy Roman Empire and eventually Germany. The middle one never solidified but became the Low Countries, Switzerland, and the Italian states.

Anna , July 14, 2017 at 9:45 am

The Canadian Minister Chrysta Freeland met with William Brawder in Davos a few months ago " -- Birds of a feather flock together. Mrs. Chrystal Freeland has a very interesting background for which she is very proud of: her granddad was a Ukrainian Nazi collaborator denounced by Jewish investigators: https://consortiumnews.com/2017/02/27/a-nazi-skeleton-in-the-family-closet/

Since the inti-Russian tenor of the Canadian Minister Chrysta Freeland is in accord with the US ziocons anti-Russian policies (never mind all this fuss about WWII Jewish mass graves in Ukraine), "Chrysta" is totally approved by the US government.

Joe Average , July 14, 2017 at 11:32 pm

I'll reply to myself in order to send a response to backwardsevolution and Miranda Keefe.

For a change I'll be so bold to ignore gentleman style and reply in the order of the posts – instead of Ladies first.

backwardsevolution,

in my first paragraph I failed to make a clear distinction. I started with the remark that I'm adding the book "Two Hundred Years Together" to my to-read list and then mentioned that I'm right now reading "Mein Kampf". All remarks after mentioning the latter book are directed at this one – and not the one of Solzhenitsyn.

Miranda Keefe,

I'm aware that accountant isn't an exact characterization of the concept of a Mayor of the Palace. As a precaution I had added the phrase "seems to be similar". You're correct with the statement that Charlemagne was descendant Karl Martel. At first I intended to write that Karolinger (Carolings) took over from Merowinger (Merovingians), because those details are irrelevant to the point that I wanted to make. It would've been an information overload. My main point was the power of accountants and related fields such as sales and marketing. Neither John D. Rockefeller, Bill Gates nor Steve Jobs actually created their products from scratch.

Many of those who are listed as billionaires haven't been creators / inventors themselves. Completely decoupled from actual production is banking. Warren Buffet is started as an investment salesman, later stock broker and investor. Oversimplified you could describe this activity as accounting or sales. It's the same with George Soros and Carl Icahn. Without proper supervision money managers (or accountants) had and still do screw those who had hired them. One of those victims is former billionaire heiress Madeleine Schickedanz ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madeleine_Schickedanz ). Generalized you could also say that BlackRock is your money manager accountant. If you've got some investment (that dates back before 2008), which promises you a higher interest rate after a term of lets say 20 years, the company with which you have the contract with may have invested your money with BlackRock. The financial crisis of 2008 has shown that finance (accountants / money managers) are taking over. Aren't investment bankers the ones who get paid large bonuses in case of success and don't face hardly any consequences in case of failure? Well, whatever turn future might take, one thing is for sure: whenever SHTF even the most colorful printed pieces of paper will not taste very well.

Cal , July 13, 2017 at 10:13 pm

History's Greatest Heist: The Looting of Russia by the Bolsheviks on

http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1nppst

History's Greatest Heist: The Looting of Russia by the Bolsheviks . EVER SINCE THE Emperor Constantine established the legal position of the church in the

Many Bolsheviks fled to Germany , taking with them some loot that enabled them to get established in Germany. Lots of invaluable art work also.

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 1:54 am

Cal – read about "History's Greatest Heist" on Amazon. Sounds interesting. Was one of the main reasons for the Czar's overthrow to steal and then flee? It's got to have been on some minds. A lot of people got killed, and they would have had wedding rings, gold, etc. That doesn't even include the wealth that could be stolen from the Czar. Was the theft just one of those things that happened through opportunism, or was it one of the main reasons for the overthrow in the first place, get some dough and run with it?

Cal , July 14, 2017 at 2:22 pm

@ backwards

" Was the theft just one of those things that happened through opportunism, or was it one of the main reasons for the overthrow"'

imo some of both. I am sure when they were selling off Russian valuables to finance their revolution a lot of them set aside some loot for themselves.

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 4:09 pm

Cal – thank you. Good books like this get us closer and closer to the truth. Thank goodness for these people.

Brad Owen , July 14, 2017 at 11:45 am

An autocratic oligarch would probably be a better description. He probably believes like other Synarchist financiers that they should rightfully rule the World, and see democratic processes as heresy against "The Natural Order for human society", or some such belief.

Brad Owen , July 14, 2017 at 12:13 pm

Looking up "A short definition of Synarchism (a Post-Napoleonic social phenomenon) by Lyndon LaRouche" would give much insight into what's going on. People from the intelligence community made sure a copy of a 1940 army intelligence dossier labelled something like "Synarchism:NAZI/Communist" got into Lyndon's hands. It speaks of the the Synarchist method of attacking a targeted society from both extreme (Right-Left) ends of the political spectrum. I guess this is dialectics? I suppose the existence of the one extreme legitimizes the harsh, anti-democratic/anti-human measures taken to exterminate it by the other extreme, actually destroying the targeted society in the process. America, USSR, and (Sun Yat Sen's old Republic of) China were the targeted societies in the pre-WWII/WWII yearsfor their "sins" of championing We The People against Oligarchy. FDR knew the Synarchist threat and sided with Russia and China against Germany and Japan. He knew that, after dealing with the battlefield NAZIs, the "Boardroom" NAZIs would have to be dealt with Post-War. That all changed with his death.The Synarchists are still at it today, hence all the rabid Russo-phobia, the Pacific Pivot, and the drive towards war. This is all being foiled with Trump's friendly, cooperative approach towards Russia and China.

mike k , July 13, 2017 at 4:11 pm

Big Brother at work – always protecting us from upsetting information. How nice of him to insure our comfort. No need for us to bother with all of this confusing stuff, he can do all that for us. The mainstream media will tell us all we need to know .. (Virginia – please notice my use of irony.)

Joe Tedesky , July 13, 2017 at 4:21 pm

Do you remember mike K when porn was censored, and there were two sides to every issue as compromise was always on the table? Now porn is accessible on cable TV, and there is only one side to every issue, and that's I'm right about everything and your not, what compromise with you?

Don't get me wrong, I don't really care how we deal with porn, but I am very concerned to why censorship is showing up whereas we can't see certain things, for certain reasons we know nothing about. Also, I find it unnerving that we as a society continue to stay so undivided. Sure, we can't all see the same things the same way, but maybe it's me, and I'm getting older by the minute, but where is our cooperation to at least try and work with each other?

Always like reading your comments mike K Joe

Joe Average , July 13, 2017 at 5:09 pm

Joe,

when it comes to the choice of watching porn and bodies torn apart (real war pictures), I prefer the first one, although we in the West should be confronted with the horrible pictures of what we're assisting/doing.

Joe Tedesky , July 13, 2017 at 5:27 pm

This is where the Two Joe's are alike.

mike k , July 13, 2017 at 6:07 pm

I do remember those days Joe. I am 86 now, so a lot has changed since 1931. With the 'greed is good' philosophy in vogue now, those who seek compromise are seen as suckers for the more single minded to take advantage of. Respect for rules of decency is just about gone, especially at the top of the wealth pyramid.

Cal , July 13, 2017 at 10:15 pm

Yep

BannanaBoat , July 13, 2017 at 6:36 pm

Distraction from critical thinking, excellent observation ( please forget the NeoCon Demos they are responsible for half of the nightmare USA society has become.

ranney , July 13, 2017 at 4:37 pm

Wow Robert, what a fascinating article! And how complicated things become "when first we practice to deceive".
Abe thank you for the link to Ritter's article; that's a really good one too!

John , July 13, 2017 at 4:40 pm

If we get into a shooting war with Russia and the human race somehow survives it Robert Parry' s name will one day appear in the history books as the person who most thoroughly documented the events leading up to that war. He will be considered to be a top historian as well as a top journalist.

Abe , July 13, 2017 at 7:01 pm

"Browder, who abjured his American citizenship in 1998 to become a British subject, reveals more about his own selective advocacy of democratic principles than about the film itself. He might recall that in his former homeland freedom of the press remains a cherished value."

A Response to William Browder
By Rachel Bauman
http://nationalinterest.org/feature/response-william-browder-16654

Abe , July 13, 2017 at 7:16 pm

William Browder is a "shareholder activist" the way Mikhail Khodorkovsky is a "human rights activist".

Both loudly bleat the "story" of their heroic "fight for justice" for billionaire Jewish oligarchs: themselves.

http://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.686922.1447865981!/image/78952068.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_625/78952068.jpg

Abe , July 13, 2017 at 7:19 pm

"never driven by the money"
https://www.thejc.com/culture/books/be-careful-of-putin-he-is-a-true-enemy-of-jews-1.61745

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 2:50 am

Abe – "never driven by the money". No, he would never be that type of guy (sarc)!

"It's hard to know what Browder will do next. He rules out any government ambitions, instead saying he can achieve more by lobbying it.

This summer, he says he met "big Hollywood players" in a bid to turn his book into a major film.

"The most important next step in the campaign is to adapt the book into a Hollywood feature film," he says. "I have been approached by many film-makers and spent part of the summer in LA meeting with screenwriters, producers and directors to figure out what the best constellation of players will be on this.

"There are a lot of people looking at it. It's still difficult to say who we will end up choosing. There are many interesting options, but I'm not going to name any names."

What the ..? I can see it now, George Clooney in the lead role, Mr. White Helmets himself, with his twins in tow.

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 1:56 am

Is it not impressive how money buys out reality in the modern world? This is why one can safely assume that whatever is told in the MSM is completely opposite to the truth. Would MSM have to push it if it were the truth? You may call this Kiza's Law if you like (modestly): " The truth is always opposite to what MSM say! " The 0.1% of situations where this is not the case is the margin of error.

Abe , July 13, 2017 at 7:39 pm

"no figure in this saga has a more tangled family relationship with the Kremlin than the London-based hedge fund manager Bill Browder [ ]

"there's a reticence in his Jewish narrative. One of his first jobs in London is with the investment operation of the publishing billionaire Robert Maxwell. As it happens, Maxwell was originally a Czech Jewish Holocaust survivor who fled and became a decorated British soldier, then helped in 1948 to set up the secret arms supply line to newly independent Israel from communist Czechoslovakia. He was also rumored to be a longtime Mossad agent. But you learn none of that from Browder's memoir.

"The silence is particularly striking because when Browder launches his own fund, he hires a former Israeli Mossad agent, Ariel, to set up his security operation, manned mainly by Israelis. Over time, Browder and Ariel become close. How did that connection come about? Was it through Maxwell? Wherever it started, the origin would add to the story. Why not tell it?

"When Browder sets up his own fund, Hermitage Capital Management -- named for the famed czarist-era St. Petersburg art museum, though that's not explained either -- his first investor is Beny Steinmetz, the Israeli diamond billionaire. Browder tells how Steinmetz introduced him to the Lebanese-Brazilian Jewish banking billionaire Edmond Safra, who invests and becomes not just a partner but also a mentor and friend.

"Safra is also internationally renowned as the dean of Sephardi Jewish philanthropy; the main backer of Israel's Shas party, the Sephardi Torah Guardians, and of New York's Holocaust memorial museum, and a megadonor to Yeshiva University, Hebrew University, the Weizmann Institute and much more. Browder must have known all that. Considering the closeness of the two, it's surprising that none of it gets mentioned.

"It's possible that Browder's reticence about his Jewish connections is simply another instance of the inarticulateness that seizes so many American Jews when they try to address their Jewishness."

http://forward.com/news/376788/the-secret-jewish-history-of-donald-trump-jrs-russia-scandal/

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 3:15 am

Abe – what a web. Money makes money, doesn't it? It's often what club you belong to and who you know. I remember a millionaire in my area long ago who went bankrupt. The wealthy simply chipped in, gave him some start-up money, and he was off to the races again. Simple as that. And I would think that the Jews are an even tighter group who invest with each other, are privy to inside information, get laws changed in favor of each other, pay people off when one gets in trouble. Browder seems a shifty sort. As the article says, he leaves a lot out.

Abe , July 14, 2017 at 11:37 pm

In 1988, Stanton Wheeler (Yale University – Law School), David L. Weisburd (Hebrew University of Jerusalem; George Mason University – The Department of Criminology, Law & Society; Hebrew University of Jerusalem – Faculty of Law). Elin Waring (Yale University – Law School), and Nancy Bode (Government of the State of Minnesota) published a major study on white collar crime in America.

Part of a larger program of research on white-collar crime supported by a grant from the United States Department of Justice's National Institute of Justice, the study included "the more special forms associated with the abuse of political power [ ] or abuse of financial power". The study was also published as a Hebrew University of Jerusalem Legal Research Paper

The research team noted that Jews were over-represented relative to their share of the U.S. population:

"With respect to religion, there is one clear finding. Although many in both white collar and common crime categories do not claim a particular religious faith [ ] It would be a fair summary of our. data to say that, demographically speaking, white collar offenders are predominantly middle-aged white males with an over-representation of Jews."

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2632989

In 1991, David L. Weisburd published his study of Crimes of the Middle Classes: White-Collar Offenders in the Federal Courts, Weisburd found that although Jews comprised only around 2% of the United States population, they contributed at least 9% of lower category white-collar crimes (bank embezzlement, tax fraud and bank fraud), at least 15% of moderate category white-collar crimes (mail fraud, false claims, and bribery), and at least 33% of high category white-collar crimes (antitrust and securities fraud). Weisburg showed greater frequency of Jewish offenders at the top of the hierarchy of white collar crime. In Weisbug's sample of financial crime in America, Jews were responsible for 23.9%.

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 2:26 am

What I find most interesting is how Putin handles the Jews.

It is obvious that he is the one who saved the country of Russia from the looting of the 90s by the Russian-American Jewish mafia. This is the most direct explanation for his demonisation in the West, his feat will never be forgiven, not even in history books (a demon forever). Even to this day, for example in Syria, Putin's main confrontation is not against US then against the Zionist Jews, whose principal tool is US. Yet, there is not a single anti-Semitic sentence that Putin ever uttered. Also, Putin let the Jewish oligarchs who plundered Russia keep their money if they accepted the authority of the Russian state, kept employing Russians and paying Russian taxes. But he openly confronted those who refused (Berezovsky, Khodorovsky etc). Furthermore, Putin lets Israel bomb Syria under his protection to abandon. Finally, Putin is known in Russia as a great supporter of Jews and Israel, almost a good friend of Nutty Yahoo.

Therefore, it appears to me that the Putin's principal strategy is to appeal to the honest Jewish majority to restrain the criminal Jewish minority (including the criminally insane), to divide them instead of confronting them all as a group, which is what the anti-Semitic Europeans have traditionally been doing. His judo-technique is in using Jewish power to restrain the Jews. I still do not know if his strategy will succeed in the long run, but it certainly is an interesting new approach (unless I do not know history enough) to an ancient problem. It is almost funny how so many US people think that the problem with the nefarious Jewish money power started with US, if they are even aware of it.

Cal , July 16, 2017 at 5:41 am

" His judo-technique is in using Jewish power to restrain the Jews. "

The Jews have no power without their uber Jew money men, most of whom are ardent Zionist.
And because they get some benefits from the lobbying heft of the Zionist control of congress they arent going to go against them.

Abe , July 15, 2017 at 5:11 pm

Bill Browder with American-Israeli interviewer Natasha Mozgovaya, TV host for Voice of America.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbgNeQ_xINM

In this 2015 tirade, Browder declared "Someone has to punch Putin in the nose" and urged "supplying arms to the Ukrainians and putting troops, NATO troops, in all of the surrounding countries".

The choice of Mozgovaya as interviewer was significant to promote Browder with the Russian Jewish community abroad.

Born in the Soviet Union in 1979, Mozgovaya immigrated to Israel with her family in 1990. She became a correspondent for the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronoth in 2000. Although working most of the time in Hebrew, her reports in Russian appeared in various publications in Russia.

Mozgovaya covered the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, including interviews with President Victor Yushenko and his partner-rival Yulia Timoshenko, as well as the Russian Mafia and Russian oligarchs. During the presidency of Vladimir Putin, Mozgovaya gave one of the last interviews with the Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya. She interviewed Garry Kasparov, Edward Limonov, Boris Berezovsky, Chechen exiles such as Ahmed Zakaev, and the widow of ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko.

In 2008, Mozgovaya left Yedioth Ahronoth to become the Washington Bureau Chief for Haaretz newspaper in Washington, D.C.. She was a frequent lecturer on Israel and Middle Eastern affairs at U.S. think-tanks. In 2013, Mozgovaya started working at the Voice of America.

HIDE BEHIND , July 13, 2017 at 7:43 pm

Gramps was decended from an old Irish New England Yankee lineage and in my youth he always dragged me along when the town meetings were held, so my ideas of American DEmocracy stem from that background, one of open participation.
The local newspapers had more social chit chat than political news of international or for that mstter State or Federal shenanigansbut everu member in that far flung settled communit read them from front to back; ss a child I got to read the funny and sports pages until Gramps got finidhed reading the "News Section, always the news first yhen the lesser BS when time allowed,this habit instilled in me the sence of
priority.
Aftrr I had read his dection of paper he would talk with me,even being a yonker, in a serious but opinionated manner, of the Editorial section which had local commentary letterd to the editor as large as somtimes too pages.
I wonder today at which section of papersf at all, is read by american public, and at how manyadults discuss importsn news worthy tppics with their children.
At advent of TV we still had trustworthy journalist to finally be seen after years of but reading their columns or listening on radios,almost tottaly all males but men of honesty and character, and worthy of trust.
They wrre a part of all social stratas, had lived real lives and yes most eere well educated but not the elitist thinking jrrks who are no more than parrots repeating whatevrr a teleprompter or bias of their employers say to write.
Wrll back to Gramps and hid home spun wisdom: He alwsys ,and shoeed by example at those old and somrtimes boistrous town Halls, that first you askef a question, thought about the answer, and then questioned the answer.
This made the one being question responsible for the words he spoke.
So those who have doubts by a presumed independent journalist, damn right they should question his motives, which in reality begin to answer our unspoken questions we can no longer ask those boobs for bombs and political sychophants and their paymasters of popular media outlets.
As one who likes effeciency in prodution one monitors data to spot trends and sny aberations bring questions so yes I note this journalist deviation from the norms as well.
I can only question the why, by looking at data from surrounding trends in order to later be able to question his answers.

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 2:07 am

Hide Behind – sounds like you had a smart grandpa, and someone who cared enough about you to talk things over with you (even though he was opinionated). I try to talk things over with my kids, sometimes too much. They're known on occasion to say, "Okay, enough. We're full." I wait a few days, and then fill them up some more! Ha.

Joe Tedesky , July 13, 2017 at 10:53 pm

Here's a thought; will letting go of Trump Jr's infraction cancel out a guilty verdict of Hillary Clinton's transgressions?

I keep hearing Hillary references while people defend Donald Trump Jr over his meeting with Russian Natalia Veselnitskaya. My thinking started over how I keep hearing pundits speak to Trump Jr's 'intent'. Didn't Comey find Hillary impossible to prosecute due to her lack of 'intent'? Actually I always thought that to be prosecuted under espionage charges, the law didn't need to prove intent, but then again we are talking about Hillary here.

The more I keep hearing Trump defenders make mention of Hillary's deliberate mistakes, and the more I keep hearing Democrates point to Donald Jr's opportunistic failures, the more similarity I see between the two rivals, and the more I see an agreed upon truce ending up in a tie. Remember we live in a one party system with two wings.

Am I going down the wrong road here, or could forgiving Trump Jr allow Hillary to get a free get out of jail card?

F. G. Sanford , July 14, 2017 at 12:42 am

I've been saying all along, our government is just a big can of worms, and neither side can expose the other without opening it. But insiders on both sides are flashing their can openers like it's a game of chicken. My guess is, everybody is gonna get a free pass. I read somewhere that Preet Bharara had the goods on a whole bunch of bankers, but he sat on it clear up to the election. Then, he got fired. So much for draining the swamp. If they prosecute Hillary, it looks like a grudge match. If they prosecute Junior, it looks like revenge. If they prosecute Lynch, it looks like racism. When you deal with a government this corrupt, everybody looks innocent by comparison. I'm still betting nobody goes to jail, as long as the "deep state" thinks they have Trump under control.

Joe Tedesky , July 14, 2017 at 1:29 am

It's like we are sitting on the top of a hill looking down at a bunch of little armies attacking each other, or something.

I'm really screwy, I have contemplated to if Petraues dropped a dime on himself for having a extra martial affair, just to get out of the Benghazi mess. Just thought I'd tell you that for full disclosure.

When it comes to Hillary, does anyone remember how in the beginning of her email investigation she pointed to Colin Powell setting precedent to use a private computer? That little snitch Hillary is always the one when caught to start pointing the finger .she would never have lasted in the Mafia, but she's smart enough to know what works best in Washington DC.

I'm just starting to see the magic; get the goods on Trump Jr then make a deal with the new FBI director.

Okay go ahead and laugh, but before you do pass the popcorn, and let's see how this all plays out.

Believe half of what you hear, and nothing of what you see.

Joe

Lisa , July 14, 2017 at 4:22 am

"Believe half of what you hear, and nothing of what you see."

Joe, where does this quote originate? Or is it a paraphrase?
I once had an American lecturer (political science) at the university, and he stressed the idea that we should not believe anything we read or hear and only half of what we see. This was l-o-o-ng ago, in the 60's.

Joe Tedesky , July 14, 2017 at 10:59 am

The first time I ever heard that line, 'believe nothing of what you see', was a friend of mine said it after we watched Roberto Clemente throw a third base runner out going towards home plate, as Robert threw the ball without a bounce to the catcher who was standing up, from the deep right field corner of the field .oh those were the days.

Gregory Herr , July 14, 2017 at 9:12 pm

JT,
Clemente had an unbelievable arm! The consummate baseball player I have family in western PA, an uncle your age in fact who remembers Clemente well. Roberto also happened to be a great human being.

Joe Tedesky , July 14, 2017 at 9:56 pm

I got loss at Forbes Field. I was seven years old, it was 1957. I got separated from my older cousin, we got in for 50 cents to sit in the left field bleachers. Like I said I loss my older cousin so I walked, and walked, and just about the time I wanted my mum the most I saw daylight. I followed the daylight out of the big garage door, and I was standing within a foot of this long white foul line. All of a sudden this Black guy started yelling at me in somekind of broken English to, 'get off the field, get out of here'. Then I felt a field ushers hand grab my shoulder, and as I turned I saw my cousin standing on the fan side of the right field side of the field. The usher picked me up and threw me over to my cousin, with a warning for him to keep his eye on me. That Black baseball player was a young rookie who was recently just drafted from the then Brooklyn Dodgers .#21 Roberto Clemente.

Gregory Herr , July 14, 2017 at 10:12 pm

You were a charmed boy and now you are a charmed man. Great story life is a Field of Dreams sometimes.

Zachary Smith , July 15, 2017 at 9:00 pm

Believe half of what you hear, and nothing of what you see.

My introduction to this had the wording the other way around:

"Don't believe anything you hear and only half of what you see."

This was because the workplace was saturated with rumors, and unfortunately there was a practice of management and union representatives "play-acting" for their audience. So what you "saw" was as likely as not a little theatrical production with no real meaning whatever. The two fellows shouting at each other might well be laughing about it over a cup of coffee an hour later.

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 2:01 am

Sanford – "But insiders on both sides are flashing their can openers " That's funny writing.

Gregory Herr , July 14, 2017 at 10:20 pm

yessir, love it

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 2:41 am

Absolutely, one of the best political metaphors ever (unfortunately works in English language only).

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 6:19 pm

BTW, they are flashing at each other not only can openers then also jail cells and grassy knolls these days. But the can openers would still be most scary.

Abe , July 14, 2017 at 2:13 am

Israeli banks have helped launder money for Russian oligarchs, while large-scale fraudulent industries, like binary options, have been allowed to flourish here.

A May 2009 diplomatic cable by the US ambassador to Israel warned that "many Russian oligarchs of Jewish origin and Jewish members of organized crime groups have received Israeli citizenship, or at least maintain residences in the country."

The United States estimated at the time that Russian crime groups had "laundered as much as $10 billion through Israeli holdings."

In 2009, then Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara charged 17 managers and employees of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims for defrauding Germany 42.5 million dollars by creating thousands of false benefit applications for people who had not suffered in the Holocaust.

The scam operated by creating phony applications with false birth dates and invented histories of persecution to process compensation claims. In some cases the recipients were born after World War II and at least one person was not even Jewish.

Among those charged was Semyon Domnitser, a former director of the conference. Many of the applicants were recruited from Brooklyn's Russian community. All those charged hail from Brooklyn.

When a phony applicant got a check, the scammers were given a cut, Bharara said. The fraud which has been going on for 16 years was related to the 400 million dollars which Germany pays out each year to Holocaust survivors.

Later, in November 2015, Bharara's office charged three Israeli men in a 23-count indictment that alleged that they ran a extensive computer hacking and fraud scheme that targeted JPMorgan Chase, The Wall Street Journal, and ten other companies.

According to prosecutors, the Israeli's operation generated "hundreds of millions of dollars of illegal profit" and exposed the personal information of more than 100 million people.

Despite his service as a useful idiot propagating the Magnitsky Myth, Bharara discovered that for Russian Jewish oligarchs, criminals and scam artists, the motto is "Nikogda ne zabyt'!" Perhaps more recognizable by the German phrase: "Niemals vergessen!"

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 3:00 am

Abe – wow, what a story. I guess it's lucrative to "never forget"! Bandits.

Cal , July 14, 2017 at 2:14 pm

https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/Abstract.aspx?id=6180

National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS)
NCJRS Abstract
The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the NCJRS Abstracts Database. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.

NCJ Number: NCJ 006180
Title: CRIMINALITY AMONG JEWS – AN OVERVIEW

United States of America
Journal: ISSUES IN CRIMINOLOGY Volume:6 Issue:2 Dated:(SUMMER 1971) Pages:1-39
Date Published: 1971
Page Count: 15
.
Abstract: THE CONCLUSION OF MOST STUDIES IS THAT JEWS HAVE A LOW CRIME RATE. IT IS LOWER THAN THAT OF NON-JEWS TAKEN AS A WHOLE, LOWER THAN THAT OF OTHER RELIGIOUS GROUPS,

HOWEVER, THE JEWISH CRIME RATE TENDS TO BE HIGHER THAN THAT OF NONJEWS AND OTHER RELIGIOUS GROUPS FOR WHITE-COLLAR OFFENSES,

THAT IS, COMMERCIAL OR COMMERCIALLY RELATED CRIMES, SUCH AS FRAUD, FRAUDULENT BANKRUPTCY, AND EMBEZZLEMENT.

Index Term(s): Behavioral and Social Sciences ; Adult offenders ; Minorities ; Behavioral science research ; Offender classification

Country: United States of America
Language: English

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 4:21 pm

Cal – that does not surprise me at all. Of course they would be where the money is, and once you have money, you get nothing but the best defense. "I've got time and money on my side. Go ahead and take me to court. I'll string this thing along and it'll cost you a fortune. So let's deal. I'm good with a fine."

A rap on the knuckles, a fine, and no court case, no discovery of the truth that the people can see. Of course they'd be there. That IS the only place to be if you want to be a true criminal.

Skip Scott , July 15, 2017 at 1:57 pm

Thanks again Abe, you are a wealth of information. I think you have to allow for anyone to make a mistake, and Bharara has done a lot of good.

BannanaBoat , July 14, 2017 at 10:45 am

USA justice for Oilygarchs; Ignore capital crimes and mass destruction ; concentrate on entertaining shenanigans.

Cal , July 13, 2017 at 11:39 pm

If Trump wants to survive he better let go of his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Lets start here:

Trump's personal attorneys are reportedly fed up with Jared Kushner
http://www.businessinsider.com/jared-kushner-trump-lawyers-donald-jr-emails-2017-7

Longtime Trump attorney Marc Kasowitz and his team have directed their grievance at Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior White House adviser.
Citing a person familiar with Trump's legal team, The Times said Kasowitz has bristled at Kushner's "whispering in the president's ear" about stories on the Russia investigation without telling Kasowitz and his team.
The Times' source said the attorneys, who were hired as private counsel to Trump in light of the Russia investigation, view Kushner "as an obstacle and a freelancer" motivated to protect himself over over Trump. The lawyers reportedly told colleagues the work environment among Trump's inner circle was untenable, The Times said, suggesting Kasowitz could resign

Second
Who thinks Jared works for Trump? I don't.
Jared works for his father Charles Kushner, the former jail bird who hired prostitutes to blackmail his brother in law into not testifying against him. Jared spent every weekend his father was in prison visiting him.,,they are inseparable.

Third
So what is Jared doing in his WH position to help his father and his failing RE empire?

Trying to get loans from China, Russia, Qatar,Qatar

And why Is Robert Mueller Probing Jared Kushner's Finances?

Because of this no doubt:..seeking a loan for the Kushners from a Russian bank.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/03/sergei-gorkov-russian-banker-jared-kushner

The White House and the bank have offered differing accounts of the Kushner-Gorkov sit-down. While the White House said Kushner met Gorkov and other foreign representatives as a transition official to "help advance the president's foreign policy goals." Vnesheconombank, also known as VEB, said it was part of talks with business leaders about the bank's development strategy.
It said Kushner was representing Kushner companies, his family real estate empire.

Jared Kushner 'tried and failed to get a $500m loan from Qatar before
http://www.independent.co.uk › News › World › Americas › US politics
2 days ago –
Jared Kushner tried and failed to secure a $500m loan from one of Qatar's richest businessmen, before pushing his father-in-law to toe a hard line with the country, it has been alleged. This intersection between Mr Kushner's real estate dealings and his father-in-law's

The Kushners are about to lose their shirts..unless one of those foreign country's banks gives them the money.

At Kushners' Flagship Building, Mounting Debt and a Foundered Deal
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/03/nyregion/kushner-companies-666-fifth-avenue.html
The Fifth Avenue skyscraper was supposed to be the Kushner Companies' flagship in the heart of Manhattan -- a record-setting $1.8 billion souvenir proclaiming that the New Jersey developers Charles Kushner and his son Jared were playing in the big leagues.
And while it has been a visible symbol of their status, it has also it has also been a financial headache almost from the start. On Wednesday, the Kushners announced that talks had broken off with a Chinese financial conglomerate for a deal worth billions to redevelop the 41-story tower, at 666 Fifth Avenue, into a flashy 80-story ultraluxury skyscraper comprising a chic retail mall, a hotel and high-priced condominiums"

Get these cockroaches out of the WH please.,,,Jared and his sister are running around the world trying to get money in exchange for giving them something from the Trump WH.

BannanaBoat , July 14, 2017 at 10:52 am

The NYC skyline displays 666 in really really really HUGE !!!! numbers. Perhaps the USA government as Cheney announced has gone to the very very very DARK side.

Cal , July 14, 2017 at 2:16 pm

Yea 666 probably isn't a coincidence .lol

Chris Kinder , July 14, 2017 at 12:15 am

What I think most comments overlook here is the following: the US is the primary imperialist aggressor in the world today, and Russia, though it is an imperialist competitor, is much weaker and is generally losing ground. Early on, the US promised that NATO would not be extended into Eastern Europe, but now look at what's happened: not only does the US have NATO allies and and missiles in Eastern Europe, but it also engineered a coup against a pro-Russian regime in Ukraine, and is now trying to drive Russia out of Eastern Ukraine, as in Crimea and the Donbass and other areas of Eastern Ukraine, which are basically Russian going back more than a century. Putin is pretty mild compered to the US' aggressive stance. That's number one.

Number two is that the current anti-Russian hysteria in the US is all about maintaining the same war-mongering stance against Russia that existed in the cold war, and also about washing clean the Democratic Party leadership's crimes in the last election. Did the Russians hack the election? Maybe they tried, but the point is that what was exposed–the emails etc–were true information! They show that the DNC worked to deprive Bernie Sanders of the nomination, and hide crimes of the Clintons'! These exposures, not any Russian connection to the exposures, are what really lost Hillary the election.

So, what is going on here? The Democrats are trying to hide their many transgressions behind an anti-Russian scare, why? Because it is working, and because it fits in with US imperialist anti-Russian aims which span the entire post-war period, and continue today. And because it might help get Trump impeached. I would not mind that result one bit, but the Democrats are no alternative: that has been shown to be true over and over again.

This is all part of the US attempt to be the dominant imperialist power in the world–something which it has pursued since the end of the last world war, and something which both Democrats and Republicans–ie, the US ruling class behind them–are committed to. Revolutionaries say: the main enemy is at home, and that is what I say now. That is no endorsement of Russian imperialism, but a rejection of all imperialism and the capitalist exploitative system that gives rise to it.

Thanks for your attention -- Chris Kinder

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 1:58 am

Chris – good post. Thanks.

mike k , July 14, 2017 at 11:35 am

Chris, I think most commenters here are aware of everything you summarized above, but we just don't put all that in each individual post.

Paranam Kid , July 14, 2017 at 6:40 am

It is ironic that Browder on his website describes himself as running a battle against corporate corruption in Russia, and there is a quote by Walter Isaacson: "Bill Browder is an amazing moral crusader". http://www.billbrowder.com/bio

HIDE BEHIND , July 14, 2017 at 10:02 am

One cannot talk of Russian monry laundering in US without exposing the Jewish Israeli and many AIPAC connections.
I studied not so much the Jewish Orthodoxy but mainly the evolution of noth their outlook upon G.. but also how those who do not believe in a G.. and still keep their cultural cohesiveness
The largest money laundering group in US is
both Jewish and Israeli, and while helping those of their cultural similarities, their ecpertise goes. Very deep in Eastern U.S. politics and especially strong in all commercial real estate, funding, setting up bribes to permitting officials,contractors and owners of construvtion firms.
Financials some quite large are within this Jew/Israel connections, as all they who offshore need those proper connections to do so. take bribes need the funding cleaned and
flow out through very large tax free Jewish Charity Orgd, the largest ones are those of Orthodox.
GOV Christie years ago headed the largest sting operation to try and uproot what at that time he believed was just statewide tax fraud and laundering operations, many odd cash flows into political party hacks running for evrry gov position electefd or appointed.
Catchng a member of one of the most influential Orthofox familys mrmbers, that member rolled on many many indivifuals of his own culture.
It was only when Vhristies investigative team began turning up far larger cases of laundering and political donations thst msinly centered in NY Stste and City, fid he then find out howuch power this grouping had.
Soon darn near every AIPAC aided elected politico from city state and rspecially Congress was warning him to end investigation.
Which he did.
His reward was for his fat ass to be funded for a run towards US Presidency, without any visibly open opposition by that cultural grouping.
No it is not odd for Jewery to charge goyim usury or to aid in political schemes that advance their groups aims.
One thing to remenber by the Bible thumpers who delay any talks of Israel ; Christian Zionist, is that to be of their culture one does not have to believe in G.
There are a few excellent books written about early days Jewish immigrant Pre Irish andblre Sicilian mafias.
The Jewish one remainst to this day but are as well orgNized as the untold history of what is known as "The Southern mafia.

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 1:55 pm

Hide Behind – fascinating! I guess if we ever knew half of what goes on behind the scenes, we'd be shocked. We only ever know things like this exist when people like you enlighten us, or when there's a blockbuster movie about it. Thanks.

Deborah Andrew , July 14, 2017 at 10:03 am

With great respect and appreciation for your writing about the current unsubstantiated conversations/writing about 'Russia-gate' I would ask if 'the other side of a story' is really what we want or, is it that we want all the facts. Analysis and opinions, that include the facts, may differ. However, it is the readers who will evaluate the varied analysis and opinions when they include all the facts known. I raise this question, as it seems to me that we have a binary approach to our thinking and decision making. Something is either good or bad, this or that. Sides are taken. Labels are added (such as conservative and progressive). Would we not be wiser and would our decision making not be wiser if it were based on a set of principles? My own preference: the precautionary principle and the principle of do no harm. I am suggesting that we abandon the phrase and notion of the 'other side of the story' and replace it with: based on the facts now known, or, based on all the facts revealed to date or, until more facts are revealed it appears

BannanaBoat , July 14, 2017 at 11:00 am

HEAR -- HEAR -- Excellent --

Zachary Smith , July 14, 2017 at 11:04 am

I would ask if 'the other side of a story' is really what we want or, is it that we want all the facts.

Replying to a question with another question isn't really good form, but given my knowledge level of this case I can see no alternative.

How do you propose to determine the "facts" when virtually none of the characters involved in the affair appear trustworthy? Also, there is a lot of evidence (displayed by Mr. Parry) that another set of "characters" we call the Mainstream Media are extremely biased and one-sided with their coverage of the story.

Again – Where am I going to find those "facts" you speak of?

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 2:52 am

Spot on.

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 2:02 pm

Deborah Andrew – good comment, but the problem is that we never seem to get "the other side of the story" from the MSM. You are right in pointing out that "the other side of the story" probably isn't ALL there is (as nothing is completely black and white), but at least it's something. The only way we can ever get to the truth is to put the facts together and question them, but how are you going to do that when the facts are kept away from us?

It can be very frustrating, can't it, Deborah? Cheers.

Cal , July 14, 2017 at 8:52 pm

Nice comment.

None of us can know the exact truth of anything we ourselves haven't seen or been involved in. The best we can do is try to find trusted sources, be objective, analytical and compare different stories and known the backgrounds and possible agendas of the people involved in a issue or story.

We can use some clues to help us cull thru what we hear and read.

Twenty-Five Rules of Disinformation

Note: The first rule and last five (or six, depending on situation) rules are generally not directly within the ability of the traditional disinfo artist to apply. These rules are generally used more directly by those at the leadership, key players, or planning level of the criminal conspiracy or conspiracy to cover up.

1. Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. Regardless of what you know, don't discuss it -- especially if you are a public figure, news anchor, etc. If it's not reported, it didn't happen, and you never have to deal with the issues.

2. Become incredulous and indignant. Avoid discussing key issues and instead focus on side issues which can be used show the topic as being critical of some otherwise sacrosanct group or theme. This is also known as the 'How dare you!' gambit.

3. Create rumor mongers. Avoid discussing issues by describing all charges, regardless of venue or evidence, as mere rumors and wild accusations. Other derogatory terms mutually exclusive of truth may work as well. This method which works especially well with a silent press, because the only way the public can learn of the facts are through such 'arguable rumors'. If you can associate the material with the Internet, use this fact to certify it a 'wild rumor' from a 'bunch of kids on the Internet' which can have no basis in fact.

4. Use a straw man. Find or create a seeming element of your opponent's argument which you can easily knock down to make yourself look good and the opponent to look bad. Either make up an issue you may safely imply exists based on your interpretation of the opponent/opponent arguments/situation, or select the weakest aspect of the weakest charges. Amplify their significance and destroy them in a way which appears to debunk all the charges, real and fabricated alike, while actually avoiding discussion of the real issues.

5. Sidetrack opponents with name calling and ridicule. This is also known as the primary 'attack the messenger' ploy, though other methods qualify as variants of that approach. Associate opponents with unpopular titles such as 'kooks', 'right-wing', 'liberal', 'left-wing', 'terrorists', 'conspiracy buffs', 'radicals', 'militia', 'racists', 'religious fanatics', 'sexual deviates', and so forth. This makes others shrink from support out of fear of gaining the same label, and you avoid dealing with issues.

6. Hit and Run. In any public forum, make a brief attack of your opponent or the opponent position and then scamper off before an answer can be fielded, or simply ignore any answer. This works extremely well in Internet and letters-to-the-editor environments where a steady stream of new identities can be called upon without having to explain criticism, reasoning -- simply make an accusation or other attack, never discussing issues, and never answering any subsequent response, for that would dignify the opponent's viewpoint.

7. Question motives. Twist or amplify any fact which could be taken to imply that the opponent operates out of a hidden personal agenda or other bias. This avoids discussing issues and forces the accuser on the defensive.

8. Invoke authority. Claim for yourself or associate yourself with authority and present your argument with enough 'jargon' and 'minutia' to illustrate you are 'one who knows', and simply say it isn't so without discussing issues or demonstrating concretely why or citing sources.

9. Play Dumb. No matter what evidence or logical argument is offered, avoid discussing issues except with denials they have any credibility, make any sense, provide any proof, contain or make a point, have logic, or support a conclusion. Mix well for maximum effect.

10. Associate opponent charges with old news. A derivative of the straw man -- usually, in any large-scale matter of high visibility, someone will make charges early on which can be or were already easily dealt with – a kind of investment for the future should the matter not be so easily contained.) Where it can be foreseen, have your own side raise a straw man issue and have it dealt with early on as part of the initial contingency plans. Subsequent charges, regardless of validity or new ground uncovered, can usually then be associated with the original charge and dismissed as simply being a rehash without need to address current issues -- so much the better where the opponent is or was involved with the original source.

11. Establish and rely upon fall-back positions. Using a minor matter or element of the facts, take the 'high road' and 'confess' with candor that some innocent mistake, in hindsight, was made -- but that opponents have seized on the opportunity to blow it all out of proportion and imply greater criminalities which, 'just isn't so.' Others can reinforce this on your behalf, later, and even publicly 'call for an end to the nonsense' because you have already 'done the right thing.' Done properly, this can garner sympathy and respect for 'coming clean' and 'owning up' to your mistakes without addressing more serious issues.

12. Enigmas have no solution. Drawing upon the overall umbrella of events surrounding the crime and the multitude of players and events, paint the entire affair as too complex to solve. This causes those otherwise following the matter to begin to lose interest more quickly without having to address the actual issues.

13. Alice in Wonderland Logic. Avoid discussion of the issues by reasoning backwards or with an apparent deductive logic which forbears any actual material fact.

14. Demand complete solutions. Avoid the issues by requiring opponents to solve the crime at hand completely, a ploy which works best with issues qualifying for rule 10.

15. Fit the facts to alternate conclusions. This requires creative thinking unless the crime was planned with contingency conclusions in place.

16. Vanish evidence and witnesses. If it does not exist, it is not fact, and you won't have to address the issue.

17. Change the subject. Usually in connection with one of the other ploys listed here, find a way to side-track the discussion with abrasive or controversial comments in hopes of turning attention to a new, more manageable topic. This works especially well with companions who can 'argue' with you over the new topic and polarize the discussion arena in order to avoid discussing more key issues.

18. Emotionalize, Antagonize, and Goad Opponents. If you can't do anything else, chide and taunt your opponents and draw them into emotional responses which will tend to make them look foolish and overly motivated, and generally render their material somewhat less coherent. Not only will you avoid discussing the issues in the first instance, but even if their emotional response addresses the issue, you can further avoid the issues by then focusing on how 'sensitive they are to criticism.'

19. Ignore proof presented, demand impossible proofs. This is perhaps a variant of the 'play dumb' rule. Regardless of what material may be presented by an opponent in public forums, claim the material irrelevant and demand proof that is impossible for the opponent to come by (it may exist, but not be at his disposal, or it may be something which is known to be safely destroyed or withheld, such as a murder weapon.) In order to completely avoid discussing issues, it may be required that you to categorically deny and be critical of media or books as valid sources, deny that witnesses are acceptable, or even deny that statements made by government or other authorities have any meaning or relevance.

20. False evidence. Whenever possible, introduce new facts or clues designed and manufactured to conflict with opponent presentations -- as useful tools to neutralize sensitive issues or impede resolution. This works best when the crime was designed with contingencies for the purpose, and the facts cannot be easily separated from the fabrications.

21. Call a Grand Jury, Special Prosecutor, or other empowered investigative body. Subvert the (process) to your benefit and effectively neutralize all sensitive issues without open discussion. Once convened, the evidence and testimony are required to be secret when properly handled. For instance, if you own the prosecuting attorney, it can insure a Grand Jury hears no useful evidence and that the evidence is sealed and unavailable to subsequent investigators. Once a favorable verdict is achieved, the matter can be considered officially closed. Usually, this technique is applied to find the guilty innocent, but it can also be used to obtain charges when seeking to frame a victim.

22. Manufacture a new truth. Create your own expert(s), group(s), author(s), leader(s) or influence existing ones willing to forge new ground via scientific, investigative, or social research or testimony which concludes favorably. In this way, if you must actually address issues, you can do so authoritatively.

23. Create bigger distractions. If the above does not seem to be working to distract from sensitive issues, or to prevent unwanted media coverage of unstoppable events such as trials, create bigger news stories (or treat them as such) to distract the multitudes.

24. Silence critics. If the above methods do not prevail, consider removing opponents from circulation by some definitive solution so that the need to address issues is removed entirely. This can be by their death, arrest and detention, blackmail or destruction of theircharacter by release of blackmail information, or merely by destroying them financially, emotionally, or severely damaging their health.

25. Vanish. If you are a key holder of secrets or otherwise overly illuminated and you think the heat is getting too hot, to avoid the issues, vacate the kitchen. .

Note: There are other ways to attack truth, but these listed are the most common, and others are likely derivatives of these. In the end, you can usually spot the professional disinfo players by one or more of seven (now 8) distinct traits:

Eight Traits of the Disinformationalist
by H. Michael Sweeney
copyright (c) 1997, 2000 All rights reserved

(Revised April 2000 – formerly SEVEN Traits)

1) Avoidance. They never actually discuss issues head-on or provide constructive input, generally avoiding citation of references or credentials. Rather, they merely imply this, that, and the other. Virtually everything about their presentation implies their authority and expert knowledge in the matter without any further justification for credibility.

2) Selectivity. They tend to pick and choose opponents carefully, either applying the hit-and-run approach against mere commentators supportive of opponents, or focusing heavier attacks on key opponents who are known to directly address issues. .

3) Coincidental. They tend to surface suddenly and somewhat coincidentally with a new controversial topic with no clear prior record of participation in general discussions in the particular public arena involved. They likewise tend to vanish once the topic is no longer of general concern. They were likely directed or elected to be there for a reason, and vanish with the reason.

4) Teamwork. They tend to operate in self-congratulatory and complementary packs or teams. Of course, this can happen naturally in any public forum, but there will likely be an ongoing pattern of frequent exchanges of this sort where professionals are involved. Sometimes one of the players will infiltrate the opponent camp to become a source for straw man or other tactics designed to dilute opponent presentation strength.

5) Anti-conspiratorial. They almost always have disdain for 'conspiracy theorists' and, usually, for those who in any way believe JFK was not killed by LHO. Ask yourself why, if they hold such disdain for conspiracy theorists, do they focus on defending a single topic discussed in a NG focusing on conspiracies? One might think they would either be trying to make fools of everyone on every topic, or simply ignore the group they hold in such disdain.Or, one might more rightly conclude they have an ulterior motive for their actions in going out of their way to focus as they do.

6) Artificial Emotions. An odd kind of 'artificial' emotionalism and an unusually thick skin -- an ability to persevere and persist even in the face of overwhelming criticism and unacceptance. You might have outright rage and indignation one moment, ho-hum the next, and more anger later -- an emotional yo-yo. With respect to being thick-skinned, no amount of criticism will deter them from doing their job, and they will generally continue their old disinfo patterns without any adjustments to criticisms of how obvious it is that they play that game -- where a more rational individual who truly cares what others think might seek to improve their communications style, substance, and so forth, or simply give up.

7) Inconsistent. There is also a tendency to make mistakes which betray their true self/motives. This may stem from not really knowing their topic, or it may be somewhat 'freudian', so to speak, in that perhaps they really root for the side of truth deep within.

8) BONUS TRAIT: Time Constant. Wth respect to News Groups, is the response time factor. There are three ways this can be seen to work, especially when the government or other empowered player is involved in a cover up operation:
1) ANY NG posting by a targeted proponent for truth can result in an IMMEDIATE response. The government and other empowered players can afford to pay people to sit there and watch for an opportunity to do some damage. SINCE DISINFO IN A NG ONLY WORKS IF THE READER SEES IT – FAST RESPONSE IS CALLED FOR, or the visitor may be swayed towards truth.
2) When dealing in more direct ways with a disinformationalist, such as email, DELAY IS CALLED FOR – there will usually be a minimum of a 48-72 hour delay. This allows a sit-down team discussion on response strategy for best effect, and even enough time to 'get permission' or instruction from a formal chain of command.
3) In the NG example 1) above, it will often ALSO be seen that bigger guns are drawn and fired after the same 48-72 hours delay – the team approach in play. This is especially true when the targeted truth seeker or their comments are considered more important with respect to potential to reveal truth. Thus, a serious truth sayer will be attacked twice for the same sin.

Michael Kenny , July 14, 2017 at 11:22 am

I don't really see Mr Parry's point. The banning of Nekrasov's film isn't proof of the accuracy of its contents and even less does it prove that anything that runs counter to Nekrasov's argument is false. Nor does proving that a mainstream meida story is false prove that an internet story saying the opposite is true. "A calls B a liar. B proves that A is a liar. That proves that B is truthful." Not very logical! What seems to be established is that the lawyer in question represents a Russian-owned company, a money-laundering prosecution against which was settled last May on the basis of what the company called a "surprise" offer from prosecutors that was "too good to refuse". This "Russian government attorney" (dixit Goldstone) had information concerning illegal campaign contributions to the Democratic National Committee. Trump Jr jumped at it and it makes no difference whether he was tricked or even whether he actually got anything, his intent was clear. In addition DNC "dirt" did indeed appear on the internet via Wikileaks, just as "dirt" appeared in the French election. MacronLeaks proves Russiagate and "Juniorgate" confirms MacronLeaks. The question now is did Trump, as president, intervene to bring about this "too good to refuse" offer? That question cannot just be written off with the "no evidence" argument.

Skip Scott , July 14, 2017 at 1:40 pm

God, you are persistent if nothing else. Keep repeating the same lie until it is taken as true, just like the MSM. You say that Russia-gate, Macron leaks, etc can't be written off with the "no evidence" argument (how is that logical?), and then you trash a film you haven't even seen because it doesn't fit your narrative. Maybe some evidence is provided in the film, did you consider that possibility? That fact that Nekrasov started out to make a pro Broder film, and then switched sides, leads me to believe he found some disturbing evidence. And if you look into Nekrasov you will find that he is no fan of Putin, so one has to wonder what his motive is if he is lying.

I am wondering if you ever look back at previous posts, because you never reply to a rebuttal. If you did, you would see that you are almost universally seen by the commenters here as a troll. If you are being paid, I suppose it might not matter much to you. However, your employer should look for someone with more intelligent arguments. He is wasting his money on you.

Abe , July 14, 2017 at 9:27 pm

Propaganda trolls attempt to trash the information space by dismissing, distracting, diverting, denying, deceiving and distorting the facts.

The trolls aim at confusing rather than convincing the audience.

The tag team troll performance of "Michael Kenny" and "David" is accompanied by loud declarations that they have "logic" on their side and "evidence" somewhere. Then they shriek that they're being "censored".

Propaganda trolls target the comments section of independent investigative journalism sites like Consortium News, typically showing up when articles discuss the West's "regime change" wars and deception operations.

Pro-Israel Hasbara propaganda trolls also strive to discredit websites, articles, and videos critical of Israel and Zionism. Hasbara smear tactics have intensified due to increasing Israeli threats of military aggression, Israeli collusion with the United States in "regime change" projects from the Middle East to Eastern Europe, and Israeli links to international organized crime and terrorism in Syria.

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 3:04 am

Gee Abe, you are a magician (and I thought that you only quote excellent articles). Short and sharp.

Abe , July 15, 2017 at 4:15 pm

When they have a hard time selling that they're being "censored" (after more than a dozen comments), trolls complain that they're being "dismissed" and "invalidated" by "hostile voices".

exiled off mainstreet , July 14, 2017 at 1:54 pm

Aaron Kesel, in Activistpost documents the links between Veselnitskaya and Fusion GPS, the company engaged by the Clintons to prepare the defamatory Christopher Steele Dossier against Trump later used by Comey to help gin up the Russian influence conspiracy theory. In the article, it is true the GPS connection may have involved her lobbying efforts to overturn the Magnitsky law, not the dossier, but it is also interesting that she is on record as anti-Trump and having associations with Clinton democrats. Though it may have been part of the beginnings of a conspiracy, the conspiracy may have developed later and the meeting became something they related back to to bolster this fraudulent dangerous initiative.

mike k , July 14, 2017 at 2:01 pm

I think as you say Skip that most on this blog have seen through Michael Kenny's stuff. Nobody's buying it. He's harmless. If he's here on his own dime, if we don't feed him, he will get bored and go away. If he's being payed, he may persist, but so what. Sometimes I check the MSM just to see what the propaganda line is. Kenny is like that; his shallow arguments tell me what we must counter to wake people up.

Skip Scott , July 14, 2017 at 5:51 pm

Yeah mike k, I know you're right. I don't know why I let the guy get under my skin. Perhaps it's because he never responds to a rebuttal.

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 3:14 am

Then you would have to waste more time rebutting the (equally empty) rebuttal.

The second thing is that many trolls suffer from DID, that is the Dissociative Identity Disorder, aka sock puppetry. There is a bit of similarity in argument between David and Michael and HAWKINS, only one of them rebuts quite often.

Philippe Lemoine , July 14, 2017 at 3:41 pm

Another excellent article! I wrote a very detailed blog post in which I methodically take apart the latest "revelation" about Donald Trump Jr.'s emails. I talk a lot about the Magnitsky Act, which is very relevant to this whole story.

Joe Tedesky , July 14, 2017 at 4:43 pm

I always like reading your articles Philippe, you have a real talent. Maybe read what I wrote above, but I'm sensing this Trump Jr affair will help Hillary more than anything, to give her a reprieve from any further FBI investigations. I mean somehow, I'm sure by Hillary's standards and desires, that this whole crazy investigation thing has to end. So, would it not seem reasonable to believe that by allowing Donald Jr to be taken off the hook, that Hillary likewise will enjoy the taste of forgiveness?

Tell me if you think this Donald Trump Jr scandal could lead to this Joe

PS if so this could be a good next article to write there I go telling the band what to play, but seriously if this Russian conclusion episode goes on much longer, could you not see a grand bargain and a deal being made?

Philippe Lemoine , July 14, 2017 at 5:14 pm

Thanks for the compliment, I'm glad you like the blog. I wasn't under the impression that Clinton was under any particular danger from the Justice Department, but even if she was, she doesn't have the power to stop this Trump/Russia collusion nonsense because it's pushed by a lot of people that have nothing to do with her except for the fact that they would have preferred her to win.

Abe , July 14, 2017 at 6:48 pm

Excellent summary and analysis, Philippe. Key observation:

"as even the New York Times admits, there is no evidence that Natalia Veselnitskaya, the lawyer who met Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort for 20-30 minutes on 9 June 2016, provided any such information during that meeting. Donald Trump Jr. said that, although he asked her about it, she didn't give them anything on Clinton, but talked to him about the Magnitsky Act and Russia's decision to block adoption by American couples in retaliation. Of course, if we just had his word, we'd have no particularly good reason to believe him. But the fact remains that no documents of the sort described in Goldstone's ridiculous email ever surfaced during the campaign, which makes what he is saying about how the meeting went down pretty convincing, at least on this specific point. It should be noted that Donald Trump Jr. has offered to testify under oath about anything related to this meeting. Moreover, he also said during the interview he gave to Sean Hannity that there was no follow-up to this meeting, which is unlikely to be a lie since he must know that, given the hysteria about this meeting, it would come out. He may not be the brightest guy in the world, but surely he or at least the people who advised him before that interview are not that stupid."

Philippe Lemoine , July 14, 2017 at 10:27 pm

Thanks!

exiled off mainstreet , July 16, 2017 at 1:31 pm

Your own necpluribus article was one of the best I've seen summarising the whole controversy, and your exhaustive responses to the pro-deep state critics was edifying. I am now convinced that your view of Veselnitskaya's role in the affair and the nature her connections to the dossier drafting company GPS being based on their unrelated work on the magnitsky law is accurate.

Mike , July 14, 2017 at 9:36 pm

Pretty interesting:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-jr-russia-bill-browder-testify-senate-links-natalia-veselnitskaya-steele-dossier-a7840061.html

Big Tim , July 15, 2017 at 12:31 am

"Bill Browder, born into a notable Jewish family in Chicago, is the grandson of Earl Browder, the former leader of the Communist Party USA,[2] and the son of Eva (Tislowitz) and Felix Browder, a mathematician. He grew up in Chicago, Illinois, and attended the University of Chicago where he studied economics. He received an MBA from Stanford Business School[3] in 1989 where his classmates included Gary Kremen and Rich Kelley. In 1998, Browder gave up his US citizenship and became a British citizen.[4] Prior to setting up Hermitage, Browder worked in the Eastern European practice of the Boston Consulting Group[5] in London and managed the Russian proprietary investments desk at Salomon Brothers.[6]"

Rake , July 15, 2017 at 9:13 am

Successfully keeping a salient argument from being heard is scary, given the social media and alternative media players who are all ripe to uncover a bombshell. Sy Hersh needs to convince Nekrasov to get his documentary to WkiLeaks.

Anna , July 15, 2017 at 10:25 am

"Sy Hersh needs to convince Nekrasov to get his documentary to WkiLeaks."
Agree.

P. Clark , July 15, 2017 at 12:01 pm

When Trump suggested that a Mexican-American judge might be biased because of this ethnicity the media said this was racist. Yet these same outlets like the New York Times are now routinely questioning Russian-American loyalty because of their ethnicity. As usual a ridiculous double standard. Basically the assumption is all Russians are bad. We didn't even have this during the cold war.

Cal , July 15, 2017 at 8:10 pm

Yes indeed P. Clark .that kind or hypocrisy makes my head explode!

MichaelAngeloRaphaelo , July 15, 2017 at 12:17 pm

Enough's Enough
STOP DNC/DEMs
#CryBabyFakeNewsBS

Support Duly ELECTED
@POTUS @realDonaldTrump
#BoycottFakeNewsSponsors
#DrainTheSwamp
#MAGA

Roy G Biv , July 15, 2017 at 12:50 pm

CN article on 911 truthers:

https://www.consortiumnews.com/2011/011511.html

Finnish wonderer , July 15, 2017 at 1:19 pm

Wow, I just learned via this article that in US Nekrasov is labeled as "pro-Kremlin" by WaPo. That's just too funny. He's in a relationship with a Finnish MEP Heidi Hautala, who is very well known for her anti-Russia mentality. Nekrasov is defenetly anti-Kremlin if something. He was supposed to make an anti-Kremlin documentary, but the facts turned out to be different than he thought, but still finished his documentary.

Mark Dankof , July 15, 2017 at 3:21 pm

The lengths to which the Neo Conservative War Cabal will go to destroy freedom of speech and access to alternative news sources underscores that the United States is becoming an Orwellian agitation-propaganda police state equally dedicated to igniting World War III for Netanyahu, the Central Banks, our Wahhabic Petrodollar Partners, and a pipeline consortium or two. The Old American Republic is dead.

Roy G Biv , July 15, 2017 at 4:38 pm

Interesting to note that each and everyone of David's comments were bleached from this page. Looks like he was right about the censorship. Sad.

Abe , July 15, 2017 at 5:41 pm

Note "allegations that are unsupported by facts".

https://consortiumnews.com/2016/01/19/a-reminder-about-comment-rules-2/

David , July 16, 2017 at 3:51 pm

Duly noted Abe. But you should adhere to the first part of the statement that you somehow forgot to include:

From Editor Robert Parry: At Consortiumnews, we welcome substantive comments about our articles, but comments should avoid abusive language toward other commenters or our writers, racial or religious slurs (including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia), and allegations that are unsupported by facts.

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 6:06 pm

My favorite was David's claim that he contributed to this zine whilst it was publishing articles not to his liking (/sarc). I kindly reminded him that people pay much more money to have publishing the way they like it – for example how much Bezos paid for Washington Post, or Omidyar to establish The Intercept.

Except for such funny component, David's comments were totally substance free and useless. Nothing lost with bleaching.

Roy G Biv , July 16, 2017 at 5:44 am

You're practicing disinformation. He actually said he contributed early on and had problems with the recent course of the CN trajectory. Censorship is cowardly.

Abe , July 16, 2017 at 1:53 pm

Consortium News welcomes substantive comments.

"David" was presenting allegations unsupported by facts and disrupting on-topic discussion.

Violations of CN comment policy are taken down by the moderator. Period. It has nothing to do with "censorship".

Stop practicing disinformation and spin, "Roy G Biv".

David , July 16, 2017 at 3:57 pm

I stopped contributing after the unintellectual dismissal of scientific 911 truthers. And it's easy for you to paint over my comments as they have been scrubbed. There was plenty of useful substance, it just ran against the tide. Sorry you didn't appreciate it the contrary viewpoint or have the curiosity to read the backstory.

Abe , July 16, 2017 at 5:02 pm

The cowardly claim of "censorship".

The typical troll whine is that their "contrary viewpoint" was "dismissed" merely because it "ran against the tide".

No. Your allegations were unsupported by facts. They still are.

Martyrdom is just another troll tactic.

dub , July 15, 2017 at 9:44 pm

torrent for the film?

Roy G Biv , July 16, 2017 at 5:56 am

Here is the pdf of the legal brief about the Magnitsky film submitted by Senator Grassly to Homeland Security Chief. Interesting read and casts doubt on the claims made in the film, refutes several claims actually. Skip past Chuck Grassly's first two page intro to get to the meat of it. If you are serious about a debate on the merits of the case, this is essential reading.

https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2017-04-04%20CEG%20to%20DHS%20(Akhmetshin%20Information)%20with%20attachment.pdf

Abe , July 16, 2017 at 1:16 pm

Yes, very interesting read. By all means, examine the brief.

But forget the spin from "Roy G Biv" because the brief actually refutes nothing about Andrei Nekrasov's film.

It simply notes that the Russian government was understandably concerned about "unscrupulous swindler" and "sleazy crook" William Browder.

After your finished reading the brief, try to remember any time when Congress dared to examine a lobbying campaign undertaken on behalf of Israeli (which is to say, predominantly Russian Jewish) interests, the circumstances surrounding a pro-Israel lobbying effort and the potential FARA violations involved. or the background of a Jewish "Russian immigrant".

Note on page 3 of the cover letter the CC to The Honorable Dianne Feinstein, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Feinstein was born Dianne Emiel Goldman in San Francisco, to Betty (née Rosenburg), a former model, and Leon Goldman, a surgeon. Feinstein's paternal grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Poland. Her maternal grandparents, the Rosenburg family, were from Saint Petersburg, Russia. While they were of German-Jewish ancestry, they practiced the Russian Orthodox faith as was required for Jews residing in Saint Petersburg.

In 1980, Feinstein married Richard C. Blum, an investment banker. In 2003, Feinstein was ranked the fifth-wealthiest senator, with an estimated net worth of US$26 million. By 2005 her net worth had increased to between US$43 million and US$99 million.

Like the rest of Congress, Feinstein knows the "right way" to vote.

David , July 16, 2017 at 1:50 pm

So you're saying because a Jew Senator was CC'd it invalidates the information? Read the first page again. The Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is obligated to CC these submissions to the ranking member of the Committee, Jew heritage or not. Misinformation and disinformation from you Abe, or generously, maybe lazy reading. The italicized unscrupulous swindler and sleazy crook comments were quoting the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov after the Washington screening of Nekrasov's film and demonstrating Russia's intentions to discredit Browder. You are practiced at the art of deception. Hopefully readers will simply look for themselves.

Abe , July 16, 2017 at 2:11 pm

Ah, comrade "David". We see you're back muttering about "disinformation" using your "own name".

My statements about Senator Feinstein are entirely supported by facts. You really should look into that.

Also, please note that quotation marks are not italics.

And please note that the Russian Foreign Minister is legally authorized to present the view of the Russian government.

Browder is pretty effective at discrediting himself. He simply has to open his mouth.

I encourage readers to look for themselves, and not simply take the word of one Browder's sockpuppets.

David , July 16, 2017 at 2:55 pm

It won't last papushka. Every post and pended moderated post was scrubbed yesterday, to the cheers of you and your mean spirited friends. But truth is truth and should be defended. So to the point, I reread the Judiciary Committee linked document, and the items you specified are in italics, because the report is quoting Lavrov's comments to a Moscow news paper and "another paper" as evidence of Russia's efforts to undermine the credibility and standing of Browder. This is hardly obscure. It's plain as day if you just read it.

David , July 16, 2017 at 2:59 pm

Also Abe, before I get deleted again, I don't question any of you geneological description of Feinstein. I merely pointed out that she is the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, and it is normal for the Chairman of the Committee (Republican) to CC the ranking member. Unless of course it is Devin Nunes, then fairness and tradition goes out the window.

Abe , July 16, 2017 at 4:01 pm

It's plain as day, "David" or whatever other name you're trolling under, that you're here to loudly "defend" the "credibility" and "standing" of William Browder.

Sorry, but you're going to have to "defend" Browder with something other than your usual innuendo, blather about 9-11, and slurs against RP.

Otherwise it will be recognized for what it is, repeated violation of CN comment policy, and taken down by the moderator again.

Good luck to any troll who wants to "defend" Browder's record.

But you're gonna have to earn your pay with something other than your signature unsupported allegations, 9-11 diversions, and the "non-Jewish Russian haters gonna hate" propaganda shtick.

David , July 16, 2017 at 5:07 pm

I wish you would stop with the name calling. I am not a troll. I have been trying to make simple rational points. You respond by calling me names and wholly ignoring and/or misrepresenting and obfuscating easily verifiable facts. I suspect you are the moderator of this page, and if so am surprised by your consistent negative references to Jews. I'm not Jewish but you're really over the top. Of course you have many friends here so you get little push back, but I really hope you are not Bob or Sam.

Anonymous , July 16, 2017 at 10:26 am

We can see that it was what can be considered to be a Complex situation, where it was said that someone had Dirt on Hillary Clinton, but there was No collusion and there was No attempted collusion, but there was Patriotism and Concern for Others during a Perplexing situation.

This is because of what is Known as Arkancide, and which is associated with some People who say they have Dirt on the Clintons.

The Obvious and Humane thing to do was to arrange to meet the Russian Lawyer, who it was Alleged to have Dirt on Hillary Clinton, regardless of any possible Alleged Electoral advantage against Hillary Clinton, and until further information, there may have been some National Security Concerns, because it was Known that Hillary Clinton committed Espionage with Top Secret Information on her Unauthorized, Clandestine, Secret Email Server, and the Obvious cover up by the Department of Justice and the FBI, and so it was with this background that this Complex situation had to be dealt with.

This is because there is Greater Protection for a Person who has Dirt or Alleged Dirt on the Clintons, if that Information is share with other People.

This is because it is a Complete Waste of time to go to the Authorities, because they will Not do anything against Clinton Crimes, and a former Haitian Government Official was found dead only days before he was to give Testimony regarding the Clinton Foundation.

We saw this with Seth Rich, where the Police Videos has been withheld, and we have seen the Obstruction in investigating that Crime.

The message to Leakers is that Seth Rich was taken to hospital and Treated and was on his way to Fully Recovering, but he died in hospital, and those who were thinking of Leaking Understood the message from that.

There was Also concern for Rob Goldstone, who Alleged that the Russian Lawyer had Dirt on the Clintons.

We Know that is is said Goldstone that he did Not want to hear what was said at the meeting.

This is because Goldstone wanted associates of Candidate Donald Trump to Know that he did Not know what was said at that meeting.

We now Know that the meeting was a set up to Improperly obtain a FISA Warrant, which was Requested in June of 2016, and that is same the month and the year as the meeting that the Russian Lawyer attended.

There was what was an Unusual granting of a Special Visa so that the Russian Lawyer could attend that set up, which was Improperly Used to Request a FISA Warrant in order to Improperly Spy on an Opposition Political Candidate in order to Improperly gain an Electoral advantage in an Undemocratic manner, because if anything wrong was intended by Associates of Candidate Donald Trump, then there were enough People in that meeting who were the Equivalent of Establishment Democrats and Establishment Republicans, because we Know that after that meeting, that the husband of the former Florida chair of the Trump campaign obtained a front row seat to a June 2016 House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing for the Russian Lawyer.

There are Americans who consider that the 2 Major Political Party Tyranny has Betrayed the Constitution and the Principles of Democracy, because they oppose President Donald Trump's Election Integrity Commission, because they think that the Establishment Republicans and the Establishment Democrats are the Bribed and Corrupted Puppets of the Shadow Regime.

We Know from Senator Sanders, that if Americans want a Political Revolution, then they will need their own Political Party.

There are Americans who think that a Group of Democratic Party Voters and Republican Party Voters who have No association with the Democratic Party or the Republican Party, and that they may be named The Guardians of American Democracy.

These Guardians of American Democracy would be a numerous Group of People, and they would ask Republican Voters to Vote for the Democratic Party Representative instead of the Republican who is in Congress and who is seeking Reelection, in exchange for Democratic Party Voters to Vote for the Republican Party Candidate instead of the Democrat who is in Congress and who is seeking Reelection, and the same can be done for the Senate, because the American People have to Decide if it is they the Shadow Regime, or if it is We the People, and the Establishment Republicans and the Establishment Democrats are the Bribed and Corrupt Puppets of the Shadow Regime, and there would be equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats replaced in this manner, and so it will Not affect their numbers in the Congress or the Senate.

There could be People who think that Debbie Wasserman Schultz was Unacceptability Biased and Unacceptability Corrupt during the Democratic Party Primaries, and that if she wants a Democratic Party Candidate to be Elected in her Congressional District, then she Should announce that she will Not be contesting the next Election, and there could be People who think that Speaker Paul Ryan was Unacceptability Disloyal by insufficiently endorse the Republican Presidential nominee, and with other matters, and that if he wants a Republican Party Candidate to be Elected in his Congressional District, then he Should announce that he will Not be contesting the next Election, and then the Guardians of American Democracy can look at other Dinos and Rinos, including those in the Senate, because the Constitution says the words: We the People.

There are Many Americans who have Noticed that Criminal Elites escape Justice, and Corruption is the norm in American Politics.

There are those who Supported Senator Sanders who Realize that Senator Sanders would have been Impeached had he become President, and they Know that they Need President Donald Trump to prepare the Political Landscape so that someone like Senator Sanders could be President, without a Coup attempt that is being attempted on President Donald Trump, and while these People may not Vote for the Republicans, they can Refuse to Vote for the Democratic Party, until the conditions are there for a Constitutional Republic and a Constitutional Democracy, and they want the Illegal Mueller Team to recuse themselves from this pile of Vile and Putrid McCarthyist Lies Invented by their Shadow Regime Puppet Masters,

There are Many Americans who want Voter Identification and Paper Ballots for Elections, and they have seen how several States are Opposed to President Donald Trump's Commission on Election Integrity, because they want to Rig their Elections, and this is Why there are Many Americans who want America to be a Constitutional Republic and a Constitutional Democracy.

MillyBloom54 , July 16, 2017 at 12:31 pm

I just read this article in the Washington Monthly, and wish to read informed comments about this issue. There are suggestions that organized crime from Russian was heavily involved. This is a complicated mess of money, greed, etc.

http://washingtonmonthly.com/2017/07/10/trumps-inner-circle-met-with-no-ordinary-russian-lawyer/

Abe , July 16, 2017 at 1:32 pm

Yes, very interesting read. By all means, examine the article, which concludes:

"So, let's please stay focused on why this matters.

"And why was Preet Bharara fired again?"

Israeli banks have helped launder money for Russian oligarchs, while large-scale fraudulent industries have been allowed to flourish in Israel.

A May 2009 diplomatic cable by the US ambassador to Israel warned that "many Russian oligarchs of Jewish origin and Jewish members of organized crime groups have received Israeli citizenship, or at least maintain residences in the country."

The United States estimated at the time that Russian crime groups had "laundered as much as $10 billion through Israeli holdings."

In 2009, then Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara charged 17 managers and employees of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims for defrauding Germany 42.5 million dollars by creating thousands of false benefit applications for people who had not suffered in the Holocaust.

The scam operated by creating phony applications with false birth dates and invented histories of persecution to process compensation claims. In some cases the recipients were born after World War II and at least one person was not even Jewish.

Among those charged was Semyon Domnitser, a former director of the conference. Many of the applicants were recruited from Brooklyn's Russian community. All those charged hail from Brooklyn.

When a phony applicant got a check, the scammers were given a cut, Bharara said. The fraud which has been going on for 16 years was related to the 400 million dollars which Germany pays out each year to Holocaust survivors.

Later, in November 2015, Bharara's office charged three Israeli men in a 23-count indictment that alleged that they ran a extensive computer hacking and fraud scheme that targeted JPMorgan Chase, The Wall Street Journal, and ten other companies.

According to prosecutors, the Israeli's operation generated "hundreds of millions of dollars of illegal profit" and exposed the personal information of more than 100 million people.

Why was Bharara fired?

Any real investigation of Russia-Gate will draw international attention towards Russian Jewish corruption in the FIRE (Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate) sectors, and lead back to Israel.

Ain't gonna happen.

David , July 16, 2017 at 3:22 pm

Remember Milly that essentially one of the first things Trump did when he came into office was fire Preet, and just days before the long awaited trial. Then, Jeff Sessions settled the case for 6 million without any testimony on a 230 million dollar case, days after. Spectacular and brazen, and structured to hide the identities of which properties were bought by which investors. Hmmmm.

David , July 16, 2017 at 3:33 pm

By the way Milly, great summary article you have linked and one that everyone who is championing the Nekrasov film should read.

Abe , July 16, 2017 at 4:37 pm

The "great" article was not written by a journalist. It's an opinion piece written by Martin Longman, a blogger and Democratic Party political consultant.

From 2012 to 2013, Longman worked for Democracy for America (DFA) a political action committee, headquartered in South Burlington, Vermont, founded by former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.

Since March 2014, political animal Longman has managed the The Washington Monthly website and online magazine.

Although it claims to be "an independent voice", the Washington Monthly is funded by the Ford Foundation, JP Morgan Chase Foundation, and well-heeled corporate entities http://washingtonmonthly.com/about/

Longman's credentials as a "progressive" alarmist are well established. Since 2005, he has been the publisher of Booman Tribune. Longman admits that BooMan is related to the 'bogey man' (aka, bogy man, boogeyman), an evil imaginary character who harms children.

Vladimir Putin is the latest bogey man of the Democratic Party and its equally pro-Israel "opposition".

Neither party wants the conversation to involve Jewish Russian organized crime, because that leads to Israel and the pro-Israel AIPAC lobby that funds both the Republican and Democratic parties.

Very interesting.

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"... Global Research ..."
Dec 10, 2017 | www.defenddemocracy.press

Although the United States played a crucial role in WWII, it was slow to get involved and it let the Soviet Union do much of the heavy lifting and suffer the heaviest losses. The United States had a lot of help in achieving the victory Mr. Gore claims for America, and we could assume he knows this, so the way he chose to describe historical events is telling.

Perhaps acknowledging the reality would have detracted from his second point about "bringing down communism." Everyone knows that what he is referring to so proudly is the destabilization and destruction of the USSR, the Warsaw bloc nations, and Yugoslavia, not the abstract notion of communism. He is referring to a "victory" which precipitated civil wars and a disastrous collapse of the economy and social welfare systems in these countries, one that killed and impoverished millions. In China, Cuba and the DPRK, contrary to what he stated, these nations' versions of socialism haven't been brought down at all. [1992]

Explicitly describing the "bringing down of communism" as America's deliberate actions to dismantle the USSR might run the risk of reminding the audience about the illegality of interfering in the internal affairs of sovereign nations, and it might have reminded people of what a betrayal this was of America's WWII ally and partner in the détente of the 1970s. The inconvenient truth is that the USSR was the WWII ally that played a crucial role in the victory that Mr. Gore claimed solely for America.

Nonetheless, the comment about "bringing down communism" is refreshingly, and maybe accidentally, very honest. Most descriptions of the Soviet collapse, even those done by historians specializing in this field, pay little attention to American efforts to undermine the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s. The political class always denied that America had a plan to dismantle the USSR, and denied having any significant influence on events which they claim arose from domestic causes. If America's influence is addressed at all, it is considered as a matter of speculation, a mystery hardly worth thinking about when one can more easily look at the dramatic events that occurred on the surface within the Soviet Union in the last decade of its existence. The following transcript of the lecture by Sean Gervasi, delivered in 1992, shortly after the collapse, is unique and valuable for what it reveals about the significant, and perhaps decisive, American role in the collapse of the Soviet Union.

In his conclusion, Mr. Gervasi came to this judgment:

The Soviet Union today, in the absence of this extraordinarily crafty, well-thought-out, extremely costly strategy deployed by the Reagan administration, would be a society struggling through great difficulties. It would still be a socialist society, at least of the kind that it was. It would be far from perfect, but it would still be there, and I think, therefore, that Western intervention made a crucial difference in this situation."

The journey to how he came to this conclusion is well worth the reader's time.

A final comment about Mr. Gore's remarks: He is oblivious to the inconvenient solution that has been staring him in the face all these years: that the necessary reduction of carbon emissions will require severe constraints on capitalism, a thesis developed by Jason W. Moore in Capitalism in the Web of Life .[ii] Mr. Gore should know that a radical solution is needed. In his recent sequel to An Inconvenient Truth he complains about the undue influence of "money in politics" that has gotten so much worse over the last ten years, but that's as deep as the class analysis and ideological exploration can go in America. He evinces no awareness of the historical figures who developed answers to the problem of unaccountable private control of a nation's government, resources and productive capacities. Gore is still proud of having actively worked against a revolution in human affairs that aimed to curtail the savage capitalism that led to the present ecological catastrophe.

In spite of the flaws one might see in what the Soviet Union actually became, flaws that arose to a great extent because it had to fight against external threats throughout its existence, the goals of the revolution of 1917 are still relevant to the crises of the 21st century, and this is what makes Sean Gervasi's research so valuable now, after a quarter century in which America doubled down on its "winning ways" and worsened the crises that were evident long ago in 1992.

About Sean Gervasi

Sean Gervasi (1933-1996) spent the latter part of his career exposing the role of the United States and Western powers in the breakup of the USSR and Yugoslavia. He was working on a book,Balkan Roulette, at the time of his death.

Gervasi was an economist trained at the University of Geneva, Oxford and Cornell. His political career began when he took a post as an economic adviser in the Kennedy administration. He resigned in protest after the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.

After his resignation, Gervasi was never able to get work again in the United States as an economist, despite his impressive academic credentials. He became a lecturer at the London School of Economics after leaving Washington. Notwithstanding his great popularity, the school refused to renew his contract in 1965.

During the 1970s and 1980s he was an adviser to a number of governments in Africa and the Middle East, helping them navigate the hostile and predatory world of transnational corporations and megabanks. He also worked for the UN Committee on Apartheid and the UN Commission on Namibia.

In addition, Gervasi was a journalist, contributing to a wide range of publications, from the New York Amsterdam News to Le Monde Diplomatique . He was a frequent commentator on the listener-supported Pacifica radio station WBAI in New York. In 1976, Gervasi broke the story of how the U.S. government was secretly arming the apartheid regime in South Africa.

In the late 1980s, Gervasi began to focus on the Cold War and what he called the "full court press," a basketball term for a highly aggressive "all in" strategy. In an article published in the Covert Action Information Bulletin in early 1991[iii], when the breakup of the USSR was imminent, Gervasi showed how the Reagan administration's strategy of economic isolation, a gargantuan arms buildup with the threat of a nuclear attack, overt funding of internal dissent, and CIA-directed sabotage had been decisive in bringing down the USSR. Gervasi backed up his analysis with careful scholarship and documentation.

Gervasi was widely respected as a leading independent figure in the left, but his views were contrary to the fashionable dogma that attributed the USSR's collapse almost exclusively to such things as failures of leadership, centralization of the economy, the black market, Chernobyl, or independence movements, and not to external hostility. These are the subjects which he addressed in the following lecture given to a small audience in January 1992. The lecture can still be found on internet video sites, but the thesis of this lecture still remains marginal and obscure two decades later, even though it is highly pertinent to the Cold War replay that is underway in the second decade of the 21st century -- one in which Russia stands accused of turning the tables and doing a comparatively very tame version of the propaganda war waged on the USSR in the 1980s.

After 1992, Gervasi focused his attention on the breakup of Yugoslavia, which he discovered was a replay of the strategy used to break up the Soviet Union. He became active in exposing the role of external powers, particularly the U.S. and German governments, in fomenting the civil war in the Balkans. His view that the war in Bosnia was sparked by the aggressive machinations these nations, and not age-old ethnic rivalries, alienated Gervasi from much of the liberal and progressive movement. Journals to which he had once regularly contributed would no longer print his articles. He had great difficulty finding a publisher for his book on the Balkans, but some of his research on this topic can be found in the article "Why Is NATO In Yugoslavia?"[iv] published by Global Research in 2001.[v]

Dennis Riches, November 2017

***

VIDEO Although the United States played a crucial role in WWII, it was slow to get involved and it let the Soviet Union do much of the heavy lifting and suffer the heaviest losses. The United States had a lot of help in achieving the victory Mr. Gore claims for America, and we could assume he knows this, so the way he chose to describe historical events is telling.

Perhaps acknowledging the reality would have detracted from his second point about "bringing down communism." Everyone knows that what he is referring to so proudly is the destabilization and destruction of the USSR, the Warsaw bloc nations, and Yugoslavia, not the abstract notion of communism. He is referring to a "victory" which precipitated civil wars and a disastrous collapse of the economy and social welfare systems in these countries, one that killed and impoverished millions. In China, Cuba and the DPRK, contrary to what he stated, these nations' versions of socialism haven't been brought down at all. [1992]

Explicitly describing the "bringing down of communism" as America's deliberate actions to dismantle the USSR might run the risk of reminding the audience about the illegality of interfering in the internal affairs of sovereign nations, and it might have reminded people of what a betrayal this was of America's WWII ally and partner in the détente of the 1970s. The inconvenient truth is that the USSR was the WWII ally that played a crucial role in the victory that Mr. Gore claimed solely for America.

Nonetheless, the comment about "bringing down communism" is refreshingly, and maybe accidentally, very honest. Most descriptions of the Soviet collapse, even those done by historians specializing in this field, pay little attention to American efforts to undermine the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s. The political class always denied that America had a plan to dismantle the USSR, and denied having any significant influence on events which they claim arose from domestic causes. If America's influence is addressed at all, it is considered as a matter of speculation, a mystery hardly worth thinking about when one can more easily look at the dramatic events that occurred on the surface within the Soviet Union in the last decade of its existence. The following transcript of the lecture by Sean Gervasi, delivered in 1992, shortly after the collapse, is unique and valuable for what it reveals about the significant, and perhaps decisive, American role in the collapse of the Soviet Union.

In his conclusion, Mr. Gervasi came to this judgment:

The Soviet Union today, in the absence of this extraordinarily crafty, well-thought-out, extremely costly strategy deployed by the Reagan administration, would be a society struggling through great difficulties. It would still be a socialist society, at least of the kind that it was. It would be far from perfect, but it would still be there, and I think, therefore, that Western intervention made a crucial difference in this situation."

The journey to how he came to this conclusion is well worth the reader's time.

A final comment about Mr. Gore's remarks: He is oblivious to the inconvenient solution that has been staring him in the face all these years: that the necessary reduction of carbon emissions will require severe constraints on capitalism, a thesis developed by Jason W. Moore in Capitalism in the Web of Life .[ii] Mr. Gore should know that a radical solution is needed. In his recent sequel to An Inconvenient Truth he complains about the undue influence of "money in politics" that has gotten so much worse over the last ten years, but that's as deep as the class analysis and ideological exploration can go in America. He evinces no awareness of the historical figures who developed answers to the problem of unaccountable private control of a nation's government, resources and productive capacities. Gore is still proud of having actively worked against a revolution in human affairs that aimed to curtail the savage capitalism that led to the present ecological catastrophe.

In spite of the flaws one might see in what the Soviet Union actually became, flaws that arose to a great extent because it had to fight against external threats throughout its existence, the goals of the revolution of 1917 are still relevant to the crises of the 21st century, and this is what makes Sean Gervasi's research so valuable now, after a quarter century in which America doubled down on its "winning ways" and worsened the crises that were evident long ago in 1992.

About Sean Gervasi

Sean Gervasi (1933-1996) spent the latter part of his career exposing the role of the United States and Western powers in the breakup of the USSR and Yugoslavia. He was working on a book,Balkan Roulette, at the time of his death.

Gervasi was an economist trained at the University of Geneva, Oxford and Cornell. His political career began when he took a post as an economic adviser in the Kennedy administration. He resigned in protest after the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.

After his resignation, Gervasi was never able to get work again in the United States as an economist, despite his impressive academic credentials. He became a lecturer at the London School of Economics after leaving Washington. Notwithstanding his great popularity, the school refused to renew his contract in 1965.

During the 1970s and 1980s he was an adviser to a number of governments in Africa and the Middle East, helping them navigate the hostile and predatory world of transnational corporations and megabanks. He also worked for the UN Committee on Apartheid and the UN Commission on Namibia.

In addition, Gervasi was a journalist, contributing to a wide range of publications, from the New York Amsterdam News to Le Monde Diplomatique . He was a frequent commentator on the listener-supported Pacifica radio station WBAI in New York. In 1976, Gervasi broke the story of how the U.S. government was secretly arming the apartheid regime in South Africa.

In the late 1980s, Gervasi began to focus on the Cold War and what he called the "full court press," a basketball term for a highly aggressive "all in" strategy. In an article published in the Covert Action Information Bulletin in early 1991[iii], when the breakup of the USSR was imminent, Gervasi showed how the Reagan administration's strategy of economic isolation, a gargantuan arms buildup with the threat of a nuclear attack, overt funding of internal dissent, and CIA-directed sabotage had been decisive in bringing down the USSR. Gervasi backed up his analysis with careful scholarship and documentation.

Gervasi was widely respected as a leading independent figure in the left, but his views were contrary to the fashionable dogma that attributed the USSR's collapse almost exclusively to such things as failures of leadership, centralization of the economy, the black market, Chernobyl, or independence movements, and not to external hostility. These are the subjects which he addressed in the following lecture given to a small audience in January 1992. The lecture can still be found on internet video sites, but the thesis of this lecture still remains marginal and obscure two decades later, even though it is highly pertinent to the Cold War replay that is underway in the second decade of the 21st century -- one in which Russia stands accused of turning the tables and doing a comparatively very tame version of the propaganda war waged on the USSR in the 1980s.

After 1992, Gervasi focused his attention on the breakup of Yugoslavia, which he discovered was a replay of the strategy used to break up the Soviet Union. He became active in exposing the role of external powers, particularly the U.S. and German governments, in fomenting the civil war in the Balkans. His view that the war in Bosnia was sparked by the aggressive machinations these nations, and not age-old ethnic rivalries, alienated Gervasi from much of the liberal and progressive movement. Journals to which he had once regularly contributed would no longer print his articles. He had great difficulty finding a publisher for his book on the Balkans, but some of his research on this topic can be found in the article "Why Is NATO In Yugoslavia?"[iv] published by Global Research in 2001.[v]

Dennis Riches, November 2017

***

VIDEO

[Dec 07, 2017] Amy Klein, in particular her book Shock Doctine tells how Milton Friedman's neoliberal economics was brought to S. America, Russia, Iraq, and other vulnerable nations to devore them by the greedy Vampire Squid with insatiable appetite for money and unchallenged world power.

Dec 07, 2017 | www.unz.com

edNels , December 7, 2017 at 3:45 am GMT

@ChuckOrloski

I read her books,

To others: Even FB may gain some historical wisdom by reading Amy K.'s description of the Chicago School of Economics and how Milton Friedman's economic "Shock Doctrine" was brought to S. America, Russia, Iraq, and other awe struck nations vulnerable to the greedy Vampire Squid's insatiable appetite for money and unchallenged world power.

you must mean Naomi Klein, who wrote "Shock Doctrine". She's great and looks good too. Recently some British black woman interviewed her and she was nicely poised and patient with the Dodo. Milton Friedman, whata guy, is he any relative of Thomas (alla'akbar ) Friedmin? (whata other f'n guy too.

I think Vampire Squid was a phrase that Taibbi started about Wall St. But haven't seen much of him lately.

[Dec 03, 2017] How Criminals Built Capitalism by Clive Crook

That explains why after dissolution of the USSR organized crime reached such level: this is standard capitalism development scenario.
Notable quotes:
"... In fact, the evolution of the modern economy owes more than you might think to these outlaws. That's the theme of " Forging Capitalism: Rogues, Swindlers, Frauds, and the Rise of Modern Finance " by Ian Klaus. It's a history of financial crimes in the 19th and early 20th centuries that traces a recurring sequence: new markets, new ways to cheat, new ways to transact and secure trust. As Klaus says, criminals helped build modern capitalism. ..."
"... Cochrane, in a way, was convicted of conduct unbecoming a man of his position. Playing the markets, let alone cheating, was something a man of his status wasn't supposed to do. Trust resided in social standing. ..."
"... The stories are absorbing and the larger theme is important: "Forging Capitalism" is a fine book and I recommend it. But I have a couple of criticisms. The project presumably began as an academic dissertation, and especially at the start, before Klaus starts telling the stories, the academic gravity is crushing. ..."
"... Nonetheless, Klaus is right: Give the markets' ubiquitous and ingenious criminals their due. They helped build modern capitalism, and they aren't going away. Just ask Bernie Madoff. ..."
Apr 05, 2015 | Bloomberg View

Whenever buyers and sellers get together, opportunities to fleece the other guy arise. The history of markets is, in part, the history of lying, cheating and stealing -- and of the effort down the years to fight commercial crime.

In fact, the evolution of the modern economy owes more than you might think to these outlaws. That's the theme of "Forging Capitalism: Rogues, Swindlers, Frauds, and the Rise of Modern Finance" by Ian Klaus. It's a history of financial crimes in the 19th and early 20th centuries that traces a recurring sequence: new markets, new ways to cheat, new ways to transact and secure trust. As Klaus says, criminals helped build modern capitalism.

And what a cast of characters. Thomas Cochrane is my own favorite. (This is partly because he was the model for Jack Aubrey in Patrick O'Brian's "Master and Commander" novels, which I've been reading and rereading for decades. Presumably Klaus isn't a fan: He doesn't note the connection.)

Cochrane was an aristocrat and naval hero. At the height of his fame in 1814 he was put on trial for fraud. An associate had spread false rumors of Napoleon's death, driving up the price of British government debt, and allowing Cochrane to avoid heavy losses on his investments. Cochrane complained (with good reason, in fact) that the trial was rigged, but he was found guilty and sent to prison.

The story is fascinating in its own right, and the book points to its larger meaning. Cochrane, in a way, was convicted of conduct unbecoming a man of his position. Playing the markets, let alone cheating, was something a man of his status wasn't supposed to do. Trust resided in social standing.

As the turbulent century went on, capitalism moved its frontier outward in every sense: It found new opportunities overseas; financial innovation accelerated; and buyers and sellers were ever more likely to be strangers, operating at a distance through intermediaries. These new kinds of transaction required new ways of securing trust. Social status diminished as a guarantee of good faith. In its place came, first, reputation (based on an established record of honest dealing) then verification (based on public and private records that vouched for the parties' honesty).

Successive scams and scandals pushed this evolution of trust along. Gregor MacGregor and the mythical South American colony of Poyais ("the quintessential fraud of Britain's first modern investment bubble," Klaus calls it); Beaumont Smith and an exchequer bill forging operation of remarkable scope and duration; Walter Watts, insurance clerk, theatrical entrepreneur and fraudster; Harry Marks, journalist, newspaper proprietor and puffer of worthless stocks. On and on, these notorious figures altered the way the public thought about commercial trust, and spurred the changes that enabled the public to keep on trusting nonetheless.

The stories are absorbing and the larger theme is important: "Forging Capitalism" is a fine book and I recommend it. But I have a couple of criticisms. The project presumably began as an academic dissertation, and especially at the start, before Klaus starts telling the stories, the academic gravity is crushing.

Trust, to be simple with our definition, is an expectation of behavior built upon norms and cultural habits. It is often dependent upon a shared set of ethics or values. It is also a process orchestrated through communities and institutions. In this sense, it is a cultural event and thus a historical phenomenon.

No doubt, but after a first paragraph like that you aren't expecting a page-turner. Trust me, it gets better. When he applies himself, Klaus can write. Describing the messenger who brought the false news of Napoleon's death, he says:

Removed from the dark of the street, the man could be seen by the light of two candles. He looked, a witness would later testify, "like a stranger of some importance." A German sealskin cap, festooned with gold fringes, covered his head. A gray coat covered his red uniform, upon which hung a star Neighbors and residents of the inn stirred and peered in as the visitor penned a note.

Tell me more.

My other objection is to the book's repeated suggestion that Adam Smith and other classical proponents of market economics naively underestimated the human propensity to deceive and over-credited the market's ability to promote good behavior. Klaus doesn't examine their claims at length or directly, but often says things such as:

The sociability in which Adam Smith had placed his hopes for harnessing self-interest was not a sufficient safeguard in the sometimes criminal capitalism of the ruthless free market.

Of course it wasn't. Smith didn't believe that the market's civilizing tendencies, together with humans' instinct for cooperation, were a sufficient safeguard against fraud or breach of contract or other commercial wrongs. He was nothing if not realistic about human nature. And by the way, many of the subtle adaptations to the shifting risk of fraud that Klaus describes were private undertakings, not government measures. Far from being surprised by them, Smith would have expected their development.

Nonetheless, Klaus is right: Give the markets' ubiquitous and ingenious criminals their due. They helped build modern capitalism, and they aren't going away. Just ask Bernie Madoff.

To contact the author on this story: Clive Crook at ccrook5@bloomberg.net

[Nov 30, 2017] The people who worked in int l finance in the 90s (representing countries to the WB and IMF) knew about the criminal callousness of these institutions when pushing austerity or reform policies. Local elites sometimes were complacent and profited (those privatizations! those newly opened markets!), sometimes resisted, but the US and the multilateral system –financial or otherwise– are ruthless and very hard to resist.

Notable quotes:
"... "The World Wealth and Inequality project's latest white-paper, co-authored by Thomas "Capital in the 21st Century" Piketty, painstaking pieces together fragmentary data-sources to build up a detailed picture of wealth inequality in Russia in the pre-revolutionary period; during phases of the Soviet era; on the eve of the collapse of the USSR; and ever since. ..."
"... According to our benchmark estimates, top income shares are now similar to (or higher than) the levels observed in the United States. We also find that inequality has increased substantially more in Russia than in China and other ex-communist countries in Eastern Europe. We relate this finding to the specific transition strategy followed in Russia. According to our benchmark estimates, the wealth held offshore by rich Russians is about three times larger than official net foreign reserves, and is comparable in magnitude to total household financial assets held in Russia. ..."
"... For my money, Saker emphasises the supposed friendliness of the Western people towards Russia too much. It is not the Western people who want to attack Russia then the Western Anglozionist elite, but the Western people really do not care, as long as it is not the blood of their progeny and their own money paying for bringing Russia to heel. ..."
"... And if Russia is destroyed, just like Ukraine, then there could be some lucrative jobs when the Western Zio-elite starts dismembering the Russian corpse. And well paying jobs are in great demand in the bankrupt West. The unwritten contract that the Western people have with their Anglozionist elite says: find a way to destroy Russia without a global nuclear war, cheaply, without serious dying on our side and throw us a few bones and we will gladly hybernate our moral conscience. ..."
Nov 30, 2017 | www.unz.com

Anon , Disclaimer November 29, 2017 at 3:02 am GMT

The people who worked in int'l finance in the 90s (representing countries to the WB and IMF) knew about the criminal callousness of these institutions when pushing 'austerity' or 'reform' policies. Local elites sometimes were complacent and profited (those privatizations! those newly opened markets!), sometimes resisted, but the US and the multilateral system –financial or otherwise– are ruthless and very hard to resist.

Many countries suffered, not because they were Russian or Brazilian or Mexican, but because the opportunity for gain was there.

anon , Disclaimer November 29, 2017 at 4:51 am GMT
There's some common ground between the reds and whites in that the reds tapped into nationalist sentiments, hence the wars of national liberation around the world being supported by the communists: Korea, Vietnam, insurgencies in Latin America, Africa, etc. The script has flipped with the western countries now being the 'godless' ones who are trying to destroy religion, the family and traditional ways of life. The 1% were horrified that there was an ideology out there that advocated taking their loot away so they used all their resources in combatting it, even being willing to take the world to the brink of nuclear Armageddon in doing so. They'd take the world down with them rather than lose their positions of power and money. Now that the ideology is no longer there it's just back to the business of robbing everyone weaker than them. All the hysteria about Putin is simply that he's built up the Russian state to where they can resist and that he's not a fellow slaveholder like them.

The intervention in Syria has unhinged parts of the west where they thought they could rob and kill anywhere they pleased but now have been successfully resisted. Political systems come and go but the people have endured for the past thousand years, something the fat cats of the west are trying to destroy to enlarge their slave plantation.

peterAUS , November 29, 2017 at 6:57 am GMT
@anon

he's not a fellow slaveholder like them .

Quick Google:
Inequality in Russia

https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/apr/25/unequal-russia-is-anger-stirring-in-the-global-capital-of-inequality

" With the richest 10% owning 87% of all the country's wealth, Russia is rated the most unequal of the world's major economies. ."

https://www.businessinsider.com.au/wealth-inequality-in-russia-in-photos-2017-7?r=US&IR=T#/#li-mi-yan-photographed-this-series-in-moscow-1

" Russia has greater economic disparity than any other major global power. In 2016, Credit Suisse's Global Wealth Report found that the wealthiest 10% of people in Russia controlled 89% of the country's wealth ..

"The World Wealth and Inequality project's latest white-paper, co-authored by Thomas "Capital in the 21st Century" Piketty, painstaking pieces together fragmentary data-sources to build up a detailed picture of wealth inequality in Russia in the pre-revolutionary period; during phases of the Soviet era; on the eve of the collapse of the USSR; and ever since.

The headline findings: official Russian estimates drastically understate national inequality; Russia is as unequal as the USA or even moreso; Russian inequality is more intense than the inequality in other post-Soviet states and in post-Deng China.

This paper combines national accounts, survey, wealth and fiscal data (including recently released tax data on high-income taxpayers) in order to provide consistent series on the accumulation and distribution of income and wealth in Russia from the Soviet period until the present day. We find that official survey-based measures vastly under-estimate the rise of inequality since 1990. According to our benchmark estimates, top income shares are now similar to (or higher than) the levels observed in the United States. We also find that inequality has increased substantially more in Russia than in China and other ex-communist countries in Eastern Europe. We relate this finding to the specific transition strategy followed in Russia. According to our benchmark estimates, the wealth held offshore by rich Russians is about three times larger than official net foreign reserves, and is comparable in magnitude to total household financial assets held in Russia.

From Soviets to Oligarchs: Inequality and Property in Russia 1905-2016 [Filip Novokmet, Thomas Piketty, Gabriel Zucman/World Wealth and Income Database]"

Etc

Cyrano , November 29, 2017 at 8:25 am GMT
@anon

People used to stage revolutions in order to bring communism to their countries. Plenty of examples for that: Russia, China, Cuba and many others. Of course, those people were deluded, right? Who would want to bring a system that preaches economic equality? It must be someone who is out of their mind. Has there ever been a capitalist revolution where someone took up arms trying to bring capitalism to their country? Must be because it's such a humane and desirable system. Also, a lot of people think that Islam is a backward religion. Really? Then how come it tolerates socialism (communism), better than Christianity ever did? Libya, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan they were all socialist at some point. That's why the greatest democracy set their sights on them to destroy them. Because, you see, by their calculations, no matter how extremist and backward the Islam gets, it's still more progressive than socialism or communism. Helluva math there. The game has always been about preserving capitalism, and not the most benign version either. Which is too bad, because capitalism has been known to tolerate dictatorship, fascism, Nazism, slavery – pretty much the ugliest forms of government the sick human mind can come up with, but it can't tolerate little bit of socialism. Because you see, socialism is worse than any of those lovely political systems. Democracy (capitalism) is too pure for that, such a fragile and delicate thing that it is.

I am surprised Sweden hasn't been bombed yet, for their flirting with socialism, but the way the things are going over there, they don't have to be bombed. They did themselves in by following someone's stupid ideas about multiculturalism – which of course is also a form of socialism – racial one, instead the real deal – the economic socialism that the greatest democracy of them all is so afraid of.

Kiza , November 29, 2017 at 12:30 pm GMT
When the Serbians in different parts of Yugoslavia started being attacked by the West, I was constantly pointing out that in recent times, since WW1, an attack on Serbia has been a kind of introduction to an attack on Russia. In other words, I had no doubt that Russia was next.

But, there is one huge difference between Serbia and Russia. Whilst the Serbians killed very few of those Western Zionist military mercenaries who were killing Serbians directly or using their Croat, Muslim and Albanian proxies, if attacked the Russian military could kill hundreds of thousands of the Western mercenaries. This is why whilst the war on Serbia was real and bloody only on Serbians and the Bosnian Muslim proxies, the war on Russia would be totally disastrous for the Anglozionist Empire. This is the only reason a shooting war on Russia has not started already.

For my money, Saker emphasises the supposed friendliness of the Western people towards Russia too much. It is not the Western people who want to attack Russia then the Western Anglozionist elite, but the Western people really do not care, as long as it is not the blood of their progeny and their own money paying for bringing Russia to heel.

And if Russia is destroyed, just like Ukraine, then there could be some lucrative jobs when the Western Zio-elite starts dismembering the Russian corpse. And well paying jobs are in great demand in the bankrupt West. The unwritten contract that the Western people have with their Anglozionist elite says: find a way to destroy Russia without a global nuclear war, cheaply, without serious dying on our side and throw us a few bones and we will gladly hybernate our moral conscience.

yeah , November 29, 2017 at 3:31 pm GMT
@Quartermaster

Well, what evidence have you for asserting that Putin is a thug? You saw through the media's false reporting earlier as you admit, so how come you again swallow the load of marbles that they dish out?

And while Putin may or may not be feared by "near abroad" he certainly is feared by those who seek total dominance of the planet. The thing is, he is not an easy pushover and that is what is behind the thug claims. Many thinking people admire his intellect, statesmanship, and skill in dealing with major problems of our times. The media also hates him because he shows up the western leaders for the clowns that they are.

A principled US Government would have dealt very differently with Russia and Putin. There is no inherent conflict of interest with Russia once global dominance is discarded as the main policy objective.

Avery , November 29, 2017 at 3:59 pm GMT
@Quartermaster

{The only people that fear Putin is the near abroad, .}

Sure, if you say so, Bub.
Texas* is, of course, 'near aboard' .

[Russia has begun testing of its new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the RS-28 Sarmat. Sarmat can carry a payload of up to ten tons of nukes. The missile system is set to enter service in 2018.
The RS-28 Sarmat is the first entirely new Russian ICBM in decades. The heavyweight missile weighs 100 tons and can boost 10 tons. Russia claims the Sarmat can lift 10 heavyweight warheads, or 16 lighter ones, and Russian state media has described it as being able to wipe out an area the size of Texas or France.]

_______________________
*
[Russia's New ICBM Could "Wipe Out Texas"]

http://www.popularmechanics.com/military/weapons/a23547/russias-new-icbm-could-wipe-out-texas/

disturbed_robot , November 29, 2017 at 4:20 pm GMT
@WorkingClass

Wow, this is the most refreshing and clear minded comment I've seen here in a while. Nice job WorkingClass, you've managed to keep your mind clear and not buy into the BS. You've given me some hope Thank you.

Anonymous , Disclaimer November 29, 2017 at 4:52 pm GMT
@peterAUS

Inequality in Russia

The supposed leaders of the West are busy trying to replace or at the very least water down their own populations with a totally different set of people from far away. Obviously these supposedly democratic leaders loathe what are supposed to be their own people but rather see all those below them as just so many replaceable units of labor, the mark of a "slaveholder". Putin has helped his people immensely. Life expectancies had plummeted into the 50′s and that's now been improved greatly as well as living standards. He's popular because he's done much for the people he identifies with, unlike Western leaders who hold their noses when anywhere near the citizenry. If the Russians like him then they must not be as worried about some issues as critics outside the country appear to be.

L.K , November 29, 2017 at 6:35 pm GMT
Very interesting interview with Professor McCoy:

On Contact: Decline of the American empire with Alfred McCoy

WorkingClass , November 29, 2017 at 7:03 pm GMT
@disturbed_robot

Thanks for the kind words.

Aedib , November 29, 2017 at 7:08 pm GMT
@James N. Kennett

It is hard to find people in the West who "hate the Russian people themselves"; but in place of hatred there is definitely fear – fear of Russia's military strength.

Disagree. The enormous propagandistic effort to demonize Russia in the West, not only reveals fear. It also reveals hate, at least on most of the elites. Most people are indifferent toward Russia but elites definitively have fear to the bear. You can test some people by simply naming "Russia" and you will see on their eyes a quite irrationala mix of hate and fear. I think this is result of an Orwellian propaganda effort aimed at injecting fear to "Eurasia".

This fear is exaggerated by the US military-industrial complex for its own purposes;

Agreed.

gwynedd1 , November 29, 2017 at 7:22 pm GMT
@WorkingClass

Given any two races or culture , what they are and what I think of them hardly matters. However pitted against each other it will cultivate and create good conditions for the scum of both of them and embroil the rest in the conflict. It is an against of chaos for a hostile order.

gwynedd1 , November 29, 2017 at 7:30 pm GMT
@Quartermaster

"Why should the west try to destroy Russia? They're doing a great job of it all by themselves"

How many times have you visited Russia?

Cyrano , November 29, 2017 at 7:41 pm GMT
@Philip Owen

Right. Those were capitalist revolutions. You are bang on. Capitalism is one of the most tolerant systems of all kinds of extremism, as I already mentioned. Capitalism has been known to tolerate monarchy, fascism, Nazism, various forms of dictatorships, slavery, pretty much everything. But they draw the line at tolerating socialism, like it's the worst extremism they have ever tolerated. My point is, capitalism is pretty robust system, it's not some delicate beauty that will fall apart if it comes in touch with socialism. Democracy is only a window dressing, it has never been about democracy, it has always been about capitalism.

AB_Anonymous , November 29, 2017 at 8:12 pm GMT
There's nothing easier nowadays than becoming a Kremlin (or any other kind of) Troll. Just start talking about things as they are and you're half way through. Keep talking that way a bit longer, and you'll forever become another precious source of income for the army of no-talent crooks with unlimited rights and zero oversee from those for whom they officially work. These guys are simply used to build their entire careers and financial well-beings by adjusting reality to their needs. They've been doing it for decades. Why not, as long as the true bosses are happy ? Why not, when the MSM will make population to swallow anything, no matter how idiotic and illogical it is ?

[Nov 30, 2017] The people who worked in int'l finance in the 90s (representing countries to the WB and IMF) knew about the criminal callousness of these institutions when pushing 'austerity' or 'reform' policies. Local elites sometimes were complacent and profited (those privatizations! those newly opened markets!), sometimes resisted, but the US and the multilateral system –financial or otherwise– are ruthless and very hard to resist.

Nov 30, 2017 | www.unz.com

Anon , Disclaimer November 29, 2017 at 3:02 am GMT

The people who worked in int'l finance in the 90s (representing countries to the WB and IMF) knew about the criminal callousness of these institutions when pushing 'austerity' or 'reform' policies. Local elites sometimes were complacent and profited (those privatizations! those newly opened markets!), sometimes resisted, but the US and the multilateral system –financial or otherwise– are ruthless and very hard to resist.

Many countries suffered, not because they were Russian or Brazilian or Mexican, but because the opportunity for gain was there.

anon , Disclaimer November 29, 2017 at 4:51 am GMT
There's some common ground between the reds and whites in that the reds tapped into nationalist sentiments, hence the wars of national liberation around the world being supported by the communists: Korea, Vietnam, insurgencies in Latin America, Africa, etc. The script has flipped with the western countries now being the 'godless' ones who are trying to destroy religion, the family and traditional ways of life. The 1% were horrified that there was an ideology out there that advocated taking their loot away so they used all their resources in combatting it, even being willing to take the world to the brink of nuclear Armageddon in doing so. They'd take the world down with them rather than lose their positions of power and money. Now that the ideology is no longer there it's just back to the business of robbing everyone weaker than them. All the hysteria about Putin is simply that he's built up the Russian state to where they can resist and that he's not a fellow slaveholder like them.

The intervention in Syria has unhinged parts of the west where they thought they could rob and kill anywhere they pleased but now have been successfully resisted. Political systems come and go but the people have endured for the past thousand years, something the fat cats of the west are trying to destroy to enlarge their slave plantation.

peterAUS , November 29, 2017 at 6:57 am GMT
@anon

he's not a fellow slaveholder like them .

Quick Google:
Inequality in Russia

https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/apr/25/unequal-russia-is-anger-stirring-in-the-global-capital-of-inequality

" With the richest 10% owning 87% of all the country's wealth, Russia is rated the most unequal of the world's major economies. ."

https://www.businessinsider.com.au/wealth-inequality-in-russia-in-photos-2017-7?r=US&IR=T#/#li-mi-yan-photographed-this-series-in-moscow-1

" Russia has greater economic disparity than any other major global power. In 2016, Credit Suisse's Global Wealth Report found that the wealthiest 10% of people in Russia controlled 89% of the country's wealth ..

"The World Wealth and Inequality project's latest white-paper, co-authored by Thomas "Capital in the 21st Century" Piketty, painstaking pieces together fragmentary data-sources to build up a detailed picture of wealth inequality in Russia in the pre-revolutionary period; during phases of the Soviet era; on the eve of the collapse of the USSR; and ever since.

The headline findings: official Russian estimates drastically understate national inequality; Russia is as unequal as the USA or even moreso; Russian inequality is more intense than the inequality in other post-Soviet states and in post-Deng China.

This paper combines national accounts, survey, wealth and fiscal data (including recently released tax data on high-income taxpayers) in order to provide consistent series on the accumulation and distribution of income and wealth in Russia from the Soviet period until the present day. We find that official survey-based measures vastly under-estimate the rise of inequality since 1990. According to our benchmark estimates, top income shares are now similar to (or higher than) the levels observed in the United States. We also find that inequality has increased substantially more in Russia than in China and other ex-communist countries in Eastern Europe. We relate this finding to the specific transition strategy followed in Russia. According to our benchmark estimates, the wealth held offshore by rich Russians is about three times larger than official net foreign reserves, and is comparable in magnitude to total household financial assets held in Russia.

From Soviets to Oligarchs: Inequality and Property in Russia 1905-2016 [Filip Novokmet, Thomas Piketty, Gabriel Zucman/World Wealth and Income Database]"

Etc

Cyrano , November 29, 2017 at 8:25 am GMT
@anon

People used to stage revolutions in order to bring communism to their countries. Plenty of examples for that: Russia, China, Cuba and many others. Of course, those people were deluded, right? Who would want to bring a system that preaches economic equality? It must be someone who is out of their mind. Has there ever been a capitalist revolution where someone took up arms trying to bring capitalism to their country? Must be because it's such a humane and desirable system. Also, a lot of people think that Islam is a backward religion. Really? Then how come it tolerates socialism (communism), better than Christianity ever did? Libya, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan they were all socialist at some point. That's why the greatest democracy set their sights on them to destroy them. Because, you see, by their calculations, no matter how extremist and backward the Islam gets, it's still more progressive than socialism or communism. Helluva math there. The game has always been about preserving capitalism, and not the most benign version either. Which is too bad, because capitalism has been known to tolerate dictatorship, fascism, Nazism, slavery – pretty much the ugliest forms of government the sick human mind can come up with, but it can't tolerate little bit of socialism. Because you see, socialism is worse than any of those lovely political systems. Democracy (capitalism) is too pure for that, such a fragile and delicate thing that it is.

I am surprised Sweden hasn't been bombed yet, for their flirting with socialism, but the way the things are going over there, they don't have to be bombed. They did themselves in by following someone's stupid ideas about multiculturalism – which of course is also a form of socialism – racial one, instead the real deal – the economic socialism that the greatest democracy of them all is so afraid of.

Kiza , November 29, 2017 at 12:30 pm GMT
When the Serbians in different parts of Yugoslavia started being attacked by the West, I was constantly pointing out that in recent times, since WW1, an attack on Serbia has been a kind of introduction to an attack on Russia. In other words, I had no doubt that Russia was next.

But, there is one huge difference between Serbia and Russia. Whilst the Serbians killed very few of those Western Zionist military mercenaries who were killing Serbians directly or using their Croat, Muslim and Albanian proxies, if attacked the Russian military could kill hundreds of thousands of the Western mercenaries. This is why whilst the war on Serbia was real and bloody only on Serbians and the Bosnian Muslim proxies, the war on Russia would be totally disastrous for the Anglozionist Empire. This is the only reason a shooting war on Russia has not started already.

For my money, Saker emphasises the supposed friendliness of the Western people towards Russia too much. It is not the Western people who want to attack Russia then the Western Anglozionist elite, but the Western people really do not care, as long as it is not the blood of their progeny and their own money paying for bringing Russia to heel.

And if Russia is destroyed, just like Ukraine, then there could be some lucrative jobs when the Western Zio-elite starts dismembering the Russian corpse. And well paying jobs are in great demand in the bankrupt West. The unwritten contract that the Western people have with their Anglozionist elite says: find a way to destroy Russia without a global nuclear war, cheaply, without serious dying on our side and throw us a few bones and we will gladly hybernate our moral conscience.

yeah , November 29, 2017 at 3:31 pm GMT
@Quartermaster

Well, what evidence have you for asserting that Putin is a thug? You saw through the media's false reporting earlier as you admit, so how come you again swallow the load of marbles that they dish out?

And while Putin may or may not be feared by "near abroad" he certainly is feared by those who seek total dominance of the planet. The thing is, he is not an easy pushover and that is what is behind the thug claims. Many thinking people admire his intellect, statesmanship, and skill in dealing with major problems of our times. The media also hates him because he shows up the western leaders for the clowns that they are.

A principled US Government would have dealt very differently with Russia and Putin. There is no inherent conflict of interest with Russia once global dominance is discarded as the main policy objective.

Avery , November 29, 2017 at 3:59 pm GMT
@Quartermaster

{The only people that fear Putin is the near abroad, .}

Sure, if you say so, Bub.
Texas* is, of course, 'near aboard' .

[Russia has begun testing of its new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the RS-28 Sarmat. Sarmat can carry a payload of up to ten tons of nukes. The missile system is set to enter service in 2018.
The RS-28 Sarmat is the first entirely new Russian ICBM in decades. The heavyweight missile weighs 100 tons and can boost 10 tons. Russia claims the Sarmat can lift 10 heavyweight warheads, or 16 lighter ones, and Russian state media has described it as being able to wipe out an area the size of Texas or France.]

_______________________
*
[Russia's New ICBM Could "Wipe Out Texas"]

http://www.popularmechanics.com/military/weapons/a23547/russias-new-icbm-could-wipe-out-texas/

disturbed_robot , November 29, 2017 at 4:20 pm GMT
@WorkingClass

Wow, this is the most refreshing and clear minded comment I've seen here in a while. Nice job WorkingClass, you've managed to keep your mind clear and not buy into the BS. You've given me some hope Thank you.

Anonymous , Disclaimer November 29, 2017 at 4:52 pm GMT
@peterAUS

Inequality in Russia

The supposed leaders of the West are busy trying to replace or at the very least water down their own populations with a totally different set of people from far away. Obviously these supposedly democratic leaders loathe what are supposed to be their own people but rather see all those below them as just so many replaceable units of labor, the mark of a "slaveholder". Putin has helped his people immensely. Life expectancies had plummeted into the 50′s and that's now been improved greatly as well as living standards. He's popular because he's done much for the people he identifies with, unlike Western leaders who hold their noses when anywhere near the citizenry. If the Russians like him then they must not be as worried about some issues as critics outside the country appear to be.

L.K , November 29, 2017 at 6:35 pm GMT
Very interesting interview with Professor McCoy:

On Contact: Decline of the American empire with Alfred McCoy

WorkingClass , November 29, 2017 at 7:03 pm GMT
@disturbed_robot

Thanks for the kind words.

Aedib , November 29, 2017 at 7:08 pm GMT
@James N. Kennett

It is hard to find people in the West who "hate the Russian people themselves"; but in place of hatred there is definitely fear – fear of Russia's military strength.

Disagree. The enormous propagandistic effort to demonize Russia in the West, not only reveals fear. It also reveals hate, at least on most of the elites. Most people are indifferent toward Russia but elites definitively have fear to the bear. You can test some people by simply naming "Russia" and you will see on their eyes a quite irrationala mix of hate and fear. I think this is result of an Orwellian propaganda effort aimed at injecting fear to "Eurasia".

This fear is exaggerated by the US military-industrial complex for its own purposes;

Agreed.

gwynedd1 , November 29, 2017 at 7:22 pm GMT
@WorkingClass

Given any two races or culture , what they are and what I think of them hardly matters. However pitted against each other it will cultivate and create good conditions for the scum of both of them and embroil the rest in the conflict. It is an against of chaos for a hostile order.

gwynedd1 , November 29, 2017 at 7:30 pm GMT
@Quartermaster

"Why should the west try to destroy Russia? They're doing a great job of it all by themselves"

How many times have you visited Russia?

Cyrano , November 29, 2017 at 7:41 pm GMT
@Philip Owen

Right. Those were capitalist revolutions. You are bang on. Capitalism is one of the most tolerant systems of all kinds of extremism, as I already mentioned. Capitalism has been known to tolerate monarchy, fascism, Nazism, various forms of dictatorships, slavery, pretty much everything. But they draw the line at tolerating socialism, like it's the worst extremism they have ever tolerated. My point is, capitalism is pretty robust system, it's not some delicate beauty that will fall apart if it comes in touch with socialism. Democracy is only a window dressing, it has never been about democracy, it has always been about capitalism.

AB_Anonymous , November 29, 2017 at 8:12 pm GMT
There's nothing easier nowadays than becoming a Kremlin (or any other kind of) Troll. Just start talking about things as they are and you're half way through. Keep talking that way a bit longer, and you'll forever become another precious source of income for the army of no-talent crooks with unlimited rights and zero oversee from those for whom they officially work. These guys are simply used to build their entire careers and financial well-beings by adjusting reality to their needs. They've been doing it for decades. Why not, as long as the true bosses are happy ? Why not, when the MSM will make population to swallow anything, no matter how idiotic and illogical it is ?

[Nov 29, 2017] How I became a Kremlin Troll by The Saker

Nov 29, 2017 | www.unz.com

The Soviet authorities had long listed me, and my entire family, as dangerous anti-Soviet activists and I, therefore, could not travel to Russia until the fall of Communism in 1991 when I immediately caught the first available flight and got to Moscow while the barricades built against the GKChP coup were still standing. Truly, by this fateful month of August 1991, I was a perfect anti-Soviet activist and an anti-Communist hardliner. I even took a photo of myself standing next to the collapsed statue of Felix Derzhinsky (the founder of the ChK – the first Soviet Secret police) with my boot pressed on his iron throat. That day I felt that my victory was total. It was also short-lived.

Instead of bringing the long-suffering Russian people freedom, peace, and prosperity, the end of Communism in Russia only brought chaos, poverty, violence, and abject exploitation by the worst class of scum the defunct Soviet system had produced. I was horrified. Unlike so many other anti-Soviet activists who were also Russophobes, I never conflated my people and the regime which oppressed them. So, while I rejoiced at the end of one horror, I was also appalled to see that another one had taken its place. Even worse, it was undeniable that the West played an active role in every and all forms of anti-Russian activities, from the total protection of Russian mobsters, on to the support of the Wahabi insurgents in Chechnya, and ending with the financing of a propaganda machine which tried to turn the Russian people into mindless consumers to the presence of western "advisors" (yeah, right!) in all the key ministries. The oligarchs were plundering Russia and causing immeasurable suffering, and the entire West, the so-called "free world" not only did nothing to help but helped all the enemies of Russia with every resource it had. Soon the NATO forces attacked Serbia, a historical ally of Russia, in total violation of the most sacred principles of international law. East Germany was not only reunified but instantly incorporated into West Germany and NATO pushed as far East as possible. I could not pretend that all this could be explained by some fear of the Soviet military or by a reaction to the Communist theory of world revolution. In truth, it became clear to me that the western elites did not hate the Soviet system or ideology, but that they hated Russian people themselves and the culture and civilization which they had created.

By the time the war against the Serbian nation in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo broke out, I was in a unique situation: all day long I could read classified UNPROFOR and military reports about what was taking place in that region and, after work, I could read the counter-factual anti-Serbian propaganda the western corporate Ziomedia was spewing out every day. I was horrified to see that literally everything the media was saying was a total lie. Then came the false flags, first in Sarajevo, but later also in Kosovo. My illusions about "Free World" and the "West" were crumbling. Fast.

Fate brought me to Russia in 1993 when I saw the carnage of meted out by the "democratic" Eltsin regime against thousands of Russians in Moscow (many more than what the official press reported). I also saw the Red Flags and Stalin portraits around the parliament building. My disgust by then was total. And when the Eltsin regime decided to bring Dudaev's Chechnia to heel triggering yet another needless bloodbath, that disgust turned into despair. Then came the stolen elections of 1996 and the murder of General Lebed. At that point, I remember thinking "Russia is dead."

So, when the entourage of Eltsin suddenly appointed an unknown nobody to acting President of Russia, I was rather dubious, to put it mildly. The new guy was not a drunk or an arrogant oligarch, but he looked rather unimpressive. He was also ex-KGB which was interesting: on one hand, the KGB had been my lifelong enemy but on the other hand, I knew that the part of the KGB which dealt with foreign intelligence was staffed by the brightest of the brightest and that they had nothing to do with political repression, Gulags and all the rest of the ugly stuff another Directorate of the KGB (the 5th) was tasked with (that department had been abolished in 1989). Putin came from the First Main Directorate of the KGB, the "PGU KGB." Still, my sympathies were more with the (far less political) military intelligence service (GRU) than the very political PGU which, I was quite sure by then, had a thick dossier on my family and me.

Then, two crucial things happened in parallel: both the "Free world" and Putin showed their true faces: the "Free world" as an AngloZionist Empire hell-bent on aggression and oppression, and Vladimir Putin as a real patriot of Russia. In fact, Putin slowly began looking like a hero to me: very gradually, in small incremental steps first, Putin began to turn Russia around, especially in two crucial matters: he was trying to "re-sovereignize" the country (making it truly sovereign and independent again), and he dared the unthinkable: he openly told the Empire that it was not only wrong, it was illegitimate (just read the transcript of Putin's amazing 2007 "Munich Speech").

Putin inspired me to make a dramatic choice: will I stick to my lifelong prejudices or will I let reality prove my lifelong prejudices wrong. The first option was far more comfortable to me, and all my friends would approve. The second one was far trickier, and it would cost me the friendship of many people. But what was the better option for Russia? Could it be that it was the right thing for a "White Russian" to join forces with the ex-KGB officer?

SteveLancs , November 28, 2017 at 5:44 am GMT

The transcript for the 2007 speech is here in English, plus questions and answers

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Speech_and_the_Following_Discussion_at_the_Munich

NoseytheDuke , November 28, 2017 at 1:07 pm GMT
@SteveLancs

Thanks for that Steve, I had intended to search for it but got sidetracked by visits to the vet. What strikes me whenever I read a transcript of Putin's speeches is the precision of his language, it's really impressive. It really isn't fair to compare that to the loose waffle of GWB or the Trumpster but even WJC or BHO who were considered to be commendable orators just lack the fine edge and the gravitas of Putin.

[Nov 18, 2017] Why is communism considered as evil (like fascism and nazism) in the United States - Politics Stack Exchange

Notable quotes:
"... approximately 100 million people in contrast to the approximately 25 million victims of the Nazis ..."
Nov 18, 2017 | politics.stackexchange.com

Why is communism considered as evil (like fascism and nazism) in the United States? up vote 33 down vote favorite 10

,yesterday

In this question, a person asks why it's so easy to ban Nazi symbols and so hard to ban communist symbols: Why is banning communism symbols so hard to achieve as opposed to banning of Nazi symbols?

The implication being that communism and Nazism is pretty much the same.

What is the reason for this idea that communism is evil or like Nazism and fascism and aims to kill people?

Is it merely due to the propaganda during the Cold War? I find that doubtful as that was quite a while ago. So why do Americans still commonly have this opinion?

Wes Sayeed ,yesterday

This question is more of a philosophical one than about any specific policy, but it strikes at the very heart of political thought and policymaking in general. I think it should be left open. – Wes Sayeed yesterday

Erik ,yesterday

Do you have any stats about how communism is viewed throughout the Western world? I always get the feeling the hatred of communism isn't a "Western" thing, it's a "United States" thing. – Erik yesterday

Sam I am ♦ ,14 hours ago

Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat . – Sam I am ♦ 14 hours ago

Pakk ,11 hours ago

The current most popular answers don't answer this question, but are explanations why the answerer thinks that communism is evil. Even if everything in those answers is true, it only shows that mass murders are an originally unintended consequence of communism, while the mass murders of Nazism are part of the ideology. For me, Nazism is an evil idea, and Communism is a bad idea because it leads to evil things. This is a big difference. I think this is a great question, and I hope there will be a true answer to this question, because I don't know the answer. – Pakk 11 hours ago

user4012 ,1 hour ago

@Pakk - there's two competing philosophies (and no, they aren't communism and capitalism :). One posits that things ought to be judged on the basis of intent. The other posits that things ought to be judged on the basis of outcome (aka the road to hell is paved with good intentions). – user4012 1 hour ago

Wes Sayeed ,yesterday

Fundamental to communist ideology is the common ownership of the means of production and abolishment of social classes and social hierarchy. In practice, that means no (or very few) private property rights, and forced redistribution of wealth from those who are most able to produce to those who are less able or unwilling to do so.

Private property and the exclusive access to the fruits of one's own labor are fundamental human rights under natural law. In order for communism to be moral, it requires everyone to voluntarily cooperate with each other towards a common goal. Unfortunately, people do not work this way. They are different in their ambitions, in their capabilities, and in their values. These differences cause different outcomes, cause some to be more successful than others, and even cause differences by which success is measured in the first place. But communism requires collectivism in order to work. Communism must eliminate those variations of the individual in order to harmonize with the collective good. This is absolutely counterintuitive to everything about human nature.

In order to realize communist goals, private property and the individual's right to their own labor must be seized from them for the sake of the collective. And because this is antithetical to individual freedom, communist governments must also work to eliminate dissent. Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.

In light of the authoritarian oppression of every communist regime in the history of ever, there are those who still make the argument that the idea of communism is good; it's just been "done wrong" by every communist state that has attempted it. However, this is not true. Communism is a fundamentally flawed ideology at its core. Its goals are attractive in principle, but completely unworkable in practice.

Communist governments must necessarily use coercion to achieve the social harmony they promise, depriving the individual of the right to choose their own destiny -- especially if those choices lead to better outcomes for them than for others. This is why every communist state has been a totalitarian nightmare replete with rampant and gross human rights violations. That is the inevitable destiny of any communist regime because it is utterly and completely incompatible with individual freedom and conscience.

tim ,yesterday

Communists would argue that people already do not have full access to the result of their labor (because capitalists own the means of production and thus collect a surplus value from that labor). I also think that you make a pretty big jump from "right to their labor must be seized" (which is already a reach) to "terror" and living in fear. If you make that jump, and would agree that workers currently do not have full access to the result of their labor (which is fair to say), you could also say that people in capitalist societies must live in terror and fear (which is not generally the case). – tim yesterday

IllusiveBrian ,yesterday

@tim People living in capitalist societies who do not own 100% of their labor (per your definition) give up the percentage to their employer so that they do not have to own the risk of investing in equipment/office space/etc to be able to perform their labor and the risk of having to actually turn the labor into something someone else is willing to buy. Additionally, everyone is free to try to own 100% of their labor by investing in it and selling it themselves. If anything, the only thing laborers have to fear is that they must sell their labor to someone in order to pay taxes. – IllusiveBrian yesterday

tim ,yesterday

@IllusiveBrian Even if you calculate "risk" into the equation, there is still a surplus; it's why large companies end up with billions in revenue. I don't see how say a coal miner could bypass that by "selling it themselves"; it's not a realistic possibility. But my point was that capitalist exploitation is comparable to the "no right to their labor" argument by OP. Both have to be enforced, but saying that it has to be enforced with terror is a reach (anti-communists might argue that it needs to be in communism, and anti-capitalists might argue that the same is true for capitalism). – tim yesterday

wizzwizz4 ,10 hours ago

This answer is focussing more on why communism is bad (and is an opinion piece regardless of the validity or not of said opinion). Perhaps focussing on why it is viewed in this way instead of stating said view would make this a less controversial answer. – wizzwizz4 10 hours ago

Azor-Ahai ,9 hours ago

What is "natural law"? – Azor-Ahai 9 hours ago

user4012 ,yesterday

TL;DR: because communism did, in fact, kill people. Between 23 million (low estimate) and 100 million (high estimate) of them killed by regimes that collectively self-branded themselves as led by "communist" parties.

The question contains two premises, both 100% false:

  1. That the only reason Communism is seen as evil is "because propaganda" and "because the people with that view are uneducated/stupid".

    Contrary to that, as the answer below shows, there's objective evidence leading people to consider Communism evil.

  2. That Communism is universally unpopular in the West, especially USA.

Let's expand on both points:


Is it merely due to the propaganda during the Cold War? I find that doubtful. That was so long ago, and the people who were subject to that propaganda are all old or dead now. So why have Americans and other westerners not smartened up by now and understood what Communism is?

It's a nice theory that is fully contradicted by the fact that among the most anti-communist segments of population are those who know best - immigrants from "communist" (well, socialist) states. People from former USSR, refugees from Castro's Cuba, Venezuelans who escaped Chavez's regime - they are all far more anti-Communist than the average Westerner. Because:

  1. They know exactly what the reality of living in your "communist" dream entails.
  2. They know their history. My grandmother was almost repressed because she happened to study genetics when Lysenko was in power. Many members of my extended family were repressed during Stalin's times. She also remembers "Doctor's Plot" (and the fact that Stalin missed out on getting rid most Soviet Jews by a few weeks when he died unexpectedly). Or, for less personalized history lessons:

So yes, people who "understood what Communism is" are actually the ones most anti-Communist.


Secondly, Communism is actually pretty popular in the US/West, especially among millennials - who have been shown to not even know basic facts about history of communism.

Part of the reason for that is that this is the generation who have been subjected to and influenced by left wing biased views by educators for the last 40 years (As of 2007, 18 percent of social scientists in the United States, self-identify as Marxists , and an overwhelming majority of college professors is progressive/left wing at 12/1 ratio )

Or, for those who do understand and know the facts, they simply refuse to judge Communism by its actual record instead of some theoretical imaginary goals .

Sam I am ♦ ,14 hours ago

Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat . – Sam I am ♦ 14 hours ago

ruakh ,6 hours ago

Re: "My grandmother was almost repressed [...] Many members of my extended family were repressed during Stalin's times": I think you may be using the wrong word here; Stalin's regime was definitely repressive, but "repress" is very vague, to the point that "almost repressed" is meaningless. Did you mean something more specific? – ruakh 6 hours ago

Tony Ennis ,4 hours ago

My Russian teachers had nothing nice to say about the Socialist state from which they fled. – Tony Ennis 4 hours ago

canadianer ,3 hours ago

The poll says 7% prefer a communist country while 44% prefer a socialist country. The same poll also says that most people don't know or misidentify what socialism or communism really are. Is it not, then, misleading to say "51%... prefer to live in socialist or communist country..." in support of the premise that "Communism is actually pretty popular..." ? – canadianer 3 hours ago

user4012 ,2 hours ago

@ruakh - I'm not sure what the correct technical English term is for the russian word "repressirovan (репрессирован)". But it has a very un-ambiguous meaning in context . – user4012 2 hours ago

not store bought dirt ,yesterday

Marx wrote about the inevitability of a paradise of post scarcity once communism is achieved, but very strongly implied that we need to climb over some well dressed corpses to get there. It seems pretty expected that the people currently wearing those clothes aren't going to want that.

Negative news reports weren't that long ago. Whether this is propaganda or not is increasingly hard to say, but:

Two of the countries Americans are most concerned about are still aligned with communism. There are still reports of humans rights violations. Some fairly brutal suppressions happened in the last 40 years, which is withing living memory (not everyone is a millennial no matter what the internet says).

I remember watching The Wall being smashed and a man stopping a tank on TV. And they will live on in the internet, forever counterrevolutionary, with commentary about why they are important. These are events that stick with some people as strongly as One Small Step, I Have A Dream, or a man burning as he falls.

Some of the none governmental propaganda against communism is still regularly used. 1984 and Animal Farm are fairly hard to avoid in American school and Ayn Rand is surprisingly often mentioned.

user4012 ,yesterday

+1 but I am rather surprised where you found a single American school mentioning Ayn Rand. – user4012 yesterday

blip ,yesterday

@user4012 it's often required or suggested reading. Less so today, fortunately :) – blip yesterday

blip ,yesterday

@user4012 it's in many school libraries...or at least was. I had it as part of coursework in college. My son had it as a book he could read (suggested, not required) in high school. – blip yesterday

blip ,yesterday

@seeReality23 rather, she was a complete nutcase, a bad writer, and ultimately a hypocrite of her own philosophy. 6/half-dozen. – blip yesterday

Shautieh ,3 hours ago

Looked up Ayn Rand rom wikipedia: "In politics, she condemned the initiation of force as immoral,[3] and opposed collectivism and statism as well as anarchism, and instead supported laissez-faire capitalism, which she defined as the system based on recognizing individual rights". What's so controversial about disliking oppressive regimes and supporting individual rights? – Shautieh 3 hours ago

Chloe ,yesterday

Communism has committed atrocities far greater than the Holocaust.

Holodomor : up to 12 million dead

Khmer Rouge : up to 3 million dead

The Great Leap Forward : up to 55 million dead

Tanzania Experiment : no deaths, only near famine

Death, famine, and genocide are usually considered evil.

user41281 ,yesterday

I don't particularly see how these reflect negatively on communism as an ideology. Rather, they are examples of failed/inefficient policies by specific authoritarian governments, and in some of the above might have even been politically motivated. If one were to ascribe these failings to any particular form of government, I would personally attribute them to the authoritarian underpinnings of the states in question, not their goals of communism. Moreover, states like the USSR weren't communist in any form (they were socialist, both in the constitution and in practice). – user41281 yesterday

Dan Walmsley ,yesterday

user41281 The parent question asked "why it's so easy to ban Nazi symbols and so hard to ban communist symbols" I thinks it's fair to say many evils have been done under those symbols, it is strange they are seen in a positive light. The symbols represent specific implementations of Communism. I personally think communism as an ideology is destined to lead to tyranny but even if you don't think that's the case they symbols were used by some horrific tyrannies. – Dan Walmsley yesterday

Chloe ,yesterday

@MoziburUllah Colonialism isn't required by capitalism. Communal farming is required by communism. Also, tu quoque is a logical fallacy. – Chloe yesterday

Mozibur Ullah ,yesterday

Colonialism and slavery is historically linked with Capitalism in the same way that Communism is historically linked with the atrocities you've mentioned; its part of a even-handed critique to look at both sides of an argument, as opposed to criticism which is just one-sided. – Mozibur Ullah yesterday

jamesqf ,yesterday

@Mozibur Ullah: Linked by whom? Usually as propaganda by the left, no? Certainly we can find colonialism and slavery in cultures that pre-date modern capitalism: Rome and Islam to pick just two well-known instances. – jamesqf yesterday

Twelfth ,yesterday

Why is communism considered as evil (like fascism and nazism) in western countries?

Simple answer is them vs us. This was previously nationality, but cold-war era saw this them vs us line drawn more on economic lines as alliances spanned multiple nations. I'll try to ignore the actuals behind why communism is evil and try to focus more on the perception of why it's remained the big evil within western society.

It should be noted that if you include deaths from sweatshops, activities outlined in 'confessions of an economic hitman', and a handful of wars...capitalism likely has quite the death toll behind it as well, but where do you draw the line between imperial ambitions and capitalism...and if we're willing to draw that line for capitalism, where does that line lay for the communists death toll? Ideal theory vs less than ideal implementation is always a factor in this discussion, usually people have to wear pretty heavy blinders to declare why our system is good and just while their system is corrupt and evil.

Much longer answer, a lot of this is generational. Younger generations are more and more embracing a 'help your neighbor' viewpoint associating capitalism with a 'Individual at the expense of everyone else' ala Martin Shkreli vs a communism 'collective looking out for the good of one another', which seems to have caused a bit of a leftist tilt in the younger generation (probably a bit to do with people get screwed over by capitalism as well and the much greener grass of communism is a dream to address that). Of course, this is entirely a dream world and has little to do with what communism actually is, yet a large number of youths in capitalist nations have somehow come to the conclusion that communism is preferable. Teaching this younger generation what the implementation of communism actually looks like is often done in the 'communism is evil' standpoint, perpetuating the 'communism is evil' viewpoint.

This is greatly exacerbated in the US, which shows a weird mix of misunderstanding and political posturing...we've already got an answer claiming all socialism is communism (same people that use 'liberal' as a curseword), which makes a pretty good example for this. Very much an exercise of reductio ad absurdum in action, suggesting some social support is countered by all social support is communism and therefore evil. Much of the wealthy within the US is generally against using their money to finance social constructs (healthcare is a big one here, but it's used against a pretty wide array of social programs) and a consistent tactic to whip up support is to use the lines "this is socialism, all socialism is communism, communism is evil, therefore "insert hot topic like universal healthcare" is evil. This political posturing is a heavy reason this 'communism is evil!' argument continues in America.

But with all that said...the key reason why Communism is regarded as evil can be reduced to freedom. "communism = someone else/collective telling us what to do and how to behave" vs "capitalism is the individual choosing what to do and how to behave". People who have had their freedom denied will heavily resist what appears to be taking freedom away.

blip ,yesterday

The catch with capitalism is that it can equally end up being someone else telling us what to do and how to behave. It's not a simple contrast in that regard. – blip yesterday

Twelfth ,yesterday

@blip - Agreed entirely, I'm tried to keep my talking points to perception and not the reality...more often than not, perceptions are reduced down to the simplest form. – Twelfth yesterday

blip ,yesterday

Good point re: perception. – blip yesterday

J Doe ,yesterday

Of course under capitalism you still have people telling you how to behave. – J Doe yesterday

J Doe ,yesterday

Indeed, the whole point of communism is that it is supposed to free us from the yoke of capitalism. Here's an example: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commons-based_peer_productionJ Doe yesterday

libeako ,yesterday

The base of socialism is higher tax and more control over the economy in order to "help the poor". If one amplifies this to total [everything is taken away by tax, every economical decision is controlled], then one gets exactly in a situation that is equivalent with communism.

So "communism" is just the extreme of socialism. To be general, i will speak about socialism mostly, but it applies to communism too.

Socialism, as any other social order : has a basic categorization : voluntary or enforced. By the word "socialism" most people mean the one enforced by state, which is of course violent, as laws of the state are mandatory, and enforced by violence. Such socialism is really bad, even if not by intention, but at least by results.

In the enforced socialism : the state [hence, and more precisely the rulers] gain power to take away the private property of the people and control economical activity. This has 2 notable results :

In short time : exploitation of the economy and distribution of the stolen assets to the poor is popular. This also strengthens the political power of the socialist ruler. But in the long time : the effect on the economy is felt by the people, who then start to want political change. In this stage the ruler, who has by now established a tyranny : has 2 choices :

What makes socialism especially dangerous idea is that it gives high power to the ruler, hence is prone to tyranny. I said "prone". Socialism does not necessarily leads to tyranny. In fact : most democratic countries today are socialist for decades. If socialism is applied in a sufficiently small dose then the negative consequences are small too and the country can survive it, even prosper.

Socialism and hitlerism are the same in their core principle, which is : "I have an idea about how people should live. It is so good that we should gain power and attack people to force them to live that way."

It is very important to see where the problem is. It is not in the social ideology itself.

The problem is the idea that people should be violently attacked to enforce an idea.

Violence itself may be even a good thing. For example it is good to kill a person who is committing mass shooting. Not only because it saves more lives than it takes, but because it saves innocent life and takes guilty life. Even it is good to shoot a group of criminals who are killing a single innocent person. What is then really bad about violence? It is the initiation of it ["attack", "aggression"].

More precisely we should condemn not only initiation of violence, but more generally : initiation of harm. Harm also contains theft.

Economic freedom [voluntary exchange of goods and services] does not need violence at all, but restricting economic freedom does. Defending property right does need violence, but robbery needs more. Theft is initiation of harm, while using force against theft is violence and therefore harm too, but not initiation of harm.

Twelfth ,yesterday

You've done a great job of illustrating how communism is erroneously conflated with socialism. Not exactly the point of the question, unless you were going with irony. – Twelfth yesterday

Twelfth ,yesterday

"help the poor" - it's to help the people regardless of wealth, middle class still use the social structures. But you are badly mixing the two topics up, communism is political while socialism is economical and you seem to have this driving point to say that socialism cannot be achieved without a dictator which is completely false. Democratic socialism already exists proving your answer to be complete paranoia and a perfect example of the 'communism is evil, flee while you can' mantra. Hence my +1 for ironic answer award – Twelfth yesterday

Obie 2.0 ,yesterday

@Andy - Can one have a capitalist economy without the use of force? ;) Private property rights don't enforce themselves, you know. – Obie 2.0 yesterday

Twelfth ,yesterday

@Andy - movement in the US seems to be growing in popularity without force. thenation.com/article/ Scandinavian nations being classified as such, and the socialist related death count in Norway is low. dissentmagazine.org/article/ Social dems in Germany are doing decent. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Democratic_Party_of_Germany socialism and communism are not the same, democratic socialism is alive and distant from communism – Twelfth yesterday

owjburnham ,9 hours ago

@Andy The Internet is not in America. There is no "they". The European socialists are already here, in the comments with you. Hello! – owjburnham 9 hours ago

[Oct 30, 2017] IMF forced Russia to allow other former Soviet countries to use, and issue, Rubles, thereby delaying the introduction of national currencies by a year, and giving the other former Soviet countries a motivation to issue huge quantities of currency, and thereby driving hyperinflation

Notable quotes:
"... New York Magazine ..."
Oct 30, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

saskydisc , October 27, 2017 at 7:21 pm

I am reading Alex Krainer's book on Bill Browder. After introducing himself, he summarized Browser's Red Alert, then spends several chapters giving the context of the 1990s US/IMF rape of Russia via Yeltsin. One thing that he mentions of which I was not aware, is that the IMF forced Russia to allow other former Soviet countries to use, and issue , Rubles, thereby delaying the introduction of national currencies by a year, and giving the other former Soviet countries a motivation to issue huge quantities of currency, and thereby driving hyperinflation. He portrays Jeffrey Sachs as possibly a geopolitical useful idiot of the US and IMF.

The IMF refused to give loans to actually assist the transition, but they had no problem giving Yeltsin a 6.7 billion dollar loan for the Chechen war. Banks were given loans "to support the ruble," which were promptly used to bet against same.

At times, the conduct of the Harvard connected personnel in Russia became so blatantly criminal that the FBI investigated and prosecuted. Harvard defended the guilty parties, and even paid a 31 million dollar US fine to settle the matter, and kept the guilty party as faculty.

rkka , October 28, 2017 at 1:08 pm
By the way, Jeff Sachs has come to the conclusion that he was used in exactly that way, that the USG never intended to actually assist Russia's transition, but to make the process as prolonged and destructive as possible.

And then there was the US support to Yeltsin's reelection campaign in '96. In January Yeltsin was polling with a 5% approval rating. 55% of Russians thought he should resign rather than seek reelection, mostly because his policies had them dying off by almost a million a year. Funny that. He and the 'Family' seriously considered cancelling the election and ruling by decree.

Instead, they decided to steal it, with the assistance of Western governments & the IMF. In March, President Clinton prevailed on the IMF to release about $10b to the Russian government, which used the funds to support Yeltsin's reelection. Years of wage arrears for government workers were suddenly cleared, as if by magic! Zyuganov was buried under a tsunami of stories that he intended to bring back War Communism and the Purges from both State and Oligarch-owned media, while getting no coverage of his actual positions from same. Zyuganov adhered to the legal limits on campaign spending, while Yeltsin exceeded them by a couple of orders of magnitude, with no consequence. And to top it all off, there was flagrant use of 'administrative resource' and outright voter fraud. Mr. Michael Meadowcroft, the leader of the OSCE election monitoring team, told The Exile of the heavy pressure he got from Western governments to minimize his reporting of how the Yeltsin reelection team was abusing Russian political processes in every possible way to ensure his reelection and the continuation of the policies that had Russians dying off by almost a million a year.

And so in '96 Western media celebrated the 54% majority vote for the guy with the 5% approval rating as 'A Triumph of Democracy!'

In 2012 they called it 'Massive Fraud!' when the guy with the 66% approval rating got 63% of the vote.

The only possible conclusion from this is that Western government care nothing for what Russians think, or how, or even whether, they live, only that the Russian government submit.

Their big problem for Western governments is that Russian voters now understand this, which puts them beyond the influence of the Anglosphere Foreign Policy Elite & Punditocracy.

This drives the AFPE&P up the wall, for they are obsessed with having 'Leverage' and 'Influence' and cannot stand having none.

And so they bleat about a miniscule Facebook ad buy.

saskydisc , October 28, 2017 at 4:23 pm
The desperation is in full display. One interesting thing that I notice is that the apolitical people are not aware, and even forget the propaganda shortly after being subjected to it. While this has the downside of making them uninterested in the facts, it does make them indifferent to the propaganda as well. Should they be dragooned into fighting, they will fight to survive, rather than to conquer.

As such, the powers that still are, are out of options. Winning a battle such as a colour revolution is more expensive to their aims in the long run than not initiating one, yet they need to steal other countries' wealth to roll over their expense accounts. I need to work up my cynicism and invest in popcorn.

saskydisc , October 28, 2017 at 4:40 pm
Another nice little detail that Krainer includes is the sending of large sums of mint US banknotes to Russian banks involved in money laundering for gangs. This was done by a bank owned by Browser's "angel" investor, Edmond Safra, and he lists how the regulators went out of their way to avoid their legal responsibilities in that matter. He also spends some time on Browder's confession that his (Browder's) pretensions of being in opposition to Soros outfit Renaissance Capital was a ruse, as Browder admits to having conducted much business with same.

He also spends some pages looking at Browder's tax evasion through transfer pricing (selling cheaply abroad, to a tax haven) using avionics outfit AVISMA.

Finally, some humour: when Browder got served his summons, he started complaining that he left the US due to prosecution of his family. Under examination, it turns out that his immediate family included professors at prestigious US universities, long after McCarthy, but long before he opted for UK citizenship.

marknesop , October 29, 2017 at 12:48 pm
Yes, I did a piece on that long ago , probably before your time here. It included some very useful links, some of which probably still work – perhaps the most eye-popping being Robert Friedman's "The Money Plane", from New York Magazine . Check it out; I think you'll find it enlightening.

I did not know that Renaissance Capital was connected to Soros, though; that's news to me, and I guess you can always learn something.

saskydisc , October 29, 2017 at 2:32 pm
Will check it out. Krainer does cite one of your pieces, in a different matter.
saskydisc , October 29, 2017 at 2:44 pm
You go into more detail, e.g. that the purpose of the shell companies was to take ownership of and manipulate Gazprom et alia. You also have more detail on Safra -- Krainer did not mention his death, and I don't recall him mentioning Mr North.
marknesop , October 29, 2017 at 9:06 am
And there is considerable anecdotal confirmation – which I realize is not evidence – that Zyuganov actually won the election, but was so stupefied and frightened at the prospect of leading such a restive country that he allowed the election to be stolen from him without opposing it. If true, he has never spoken of it himself to my knowledge. But others have.
Pro-Freedom , October 29, 2017 at 9:08 am
For that matter, there likely wouldn't not have been a Putin presidency.
kirill , October 29, 2017 at 10:30 am
Zyuganov was 5th column comprador who made sure the Communist Party did not evolve and thereby ensuring its long term oblivion.
Matt , October 29, 2017 at 10:45 am
Per Dugin, that technically qualifies him as a 6th columnist:

http://katehon.com/1318-sixth-column.html

This structure sure is stable, kek.

[Oct 24, 2017] I found the following article to be reasonable and consistent with my admittedly imperfect understanding of pre-WW II Russian/Soviet history

Oct 24, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Patient Observer , October 22, 2017 at 7:25 pm

I found the following article to be reasonable and consistent with my admittedly imperfect understanding of pre-WW II Russian/Soviet history. The consistency for me was was in finding a balance with the typically hyper-exaggerated claims of Western historians (evident to this day) and the demonstrated behavior of Slavic Orthodox who tend be be far less excessive than the West when it comes to war and genocide.

Regarding Jews in Russia, the article maintains that many were associated with betrayal of Russia and many fought valiantly against the Western invaders so its a mixed bag in that regard.

http://russia-insider.com/en/revisionist-look-soviet-history-1930-1955/ri21209

The article suggests that the Soviet Union concluded that it had 10 years to prepare for the Western invasion that was meant to murder them all. They had to collectivize to release labor for rapid industrialization and had to eliminate the anti-Russian 5th column. Only the foregoing allowed the Soviet Union to survive and then defeat the Western invasion. It seems quite plausible.

The article also debunks (sorry) claims of multi-million deaths from the famine and more from the purges although this seems to still be a point of contention even among Russian historians not slavishly following the Western party line.

I do recall that Gorbechev himself caused ire in the West when he stated that the numbers killed by the purges were in the tens of thousands and not millions.

I think that it is time for Russia to write its own history without the slightest regard of what the West will think. That holds even more so for Serbia.

[Oct 21, 2017] Socialism, Land and Banking 2017 compared to 1917 by Michael Hudson

Notable quotes:
"... Socialism a century ago seemed to be the wave of the future. There were various schools of socialism, but the common ideal was to guarantee support for basic needs, and for state ownership to free society from landlords, predatory banking and monopolies. In the West these hopes are now much further away than they seemed in 1917. Land and natural resources, basic infrastructure monopolies, health care and pensions have been increasingly privatized and financialized. ..."
"... Instead of Germany and other advanced industrial nations leading the way as expected, Russia's October 1917 Revolution made the greatest leap. But the failures of Stalinism became an argument against Marxism – guilt-by-association with Soviet bureaucracy. European parties calling themselves socialist or "labour" since the 1980s have supported neoliberal policies that are the opposite of socialist policy. Russia itself has chosen neoliberalism. ..."
"... Few socialist parties or theorists have dealt with the rise of the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sector that now accounts for most increase in wealth. Instead of evolving into socialism, Western capitalism is being overcome by predatory finance and rent extraction imposing debt deflation and austerity on industry as well as on labor. ..."
"... Failure of Western economies to recover from the 2008 crisis is leading to a revival of Marxist advocacy. The alternative to socialist reform is stagnation and a relapse into neofeudal financial and monopoly privileges. ..."
"... Russia's Revolution ended after 74 years, leaving the Soviet Union so dispirited that it ended in collapse. The contrast between the low living standards of Russian consumers and what seemed to be Western success became increasingly pronounced. ..."
"... When the Soviet Union dissolved itself in 1991, its leaders took neoliberal advice from its major adversary, the United States, in hope that this would set it on a capitalist road to prosperity. But turning its economies into viable industrial powers was the last thing U.S. advisors wanted to teach Russia. [3] Their aim was to turn it and its former satellites into raw-materials colonies of Wall Street, the City of London and Frankfurt – victims of capitalism, not rival producers. ..."
"... It should not be surprising that banks became the economy's main control centers, as in the West's bubble economies. Instead of the promised prosperity, a new class of billionaires was endowed, headed by the notorious Seven Bankers who appropriated the formerly state-owned oil and gas, nickel and platinum, electricity and aluminum production, as well as real estate, electric utilities and other public enterprises. It was the largest giveaway in modern history. The Soviet nomenklatura became the new lords in outright seizure that Marx would have characterized as "primitive accumulation." ..."
"... The American advisors knew the obvious: Russian savings had been wiped out by the polst-1991 hyperinflation, so the new owners could only cash out by selling shares to Western buyers. The kleptocrats cashed out as expected, by dumping their shares to foreign investors so quickly at such giveaway prices that Russia's stock market became the world's top performer for Western investors in 1994-96. ..."
"... The basic neoliberal idea of prosperity is financial gain based on turning rent extraction into a flow of interest payments by buyers-on-credit. This policy favors financial engineering over industrial investment, reversing the Progressive Era's industrial capitalism that Marx anticipated would be a transition stage leading to socialism. Russia adopted the West's anti-socialist rollback toward neofeudalism. ..."
"... Russia joined the dollar standard. Buying Treasury bonds meant lending to the U.S. Government. The central bank bought U.S. Treasury securities to back its domestic currency. These purchases helped finance Cold War escalation in countries around Russia. Russia paid 100% annual interest in the mid-1990s, creating a bonanza for U.S. investors. On balance, this neoliberal policy lay Russia's economy open to looting by financial institutions seeking natural resource rent, land rent and monopoly rent for themselves. Instead of targeting such rents, Russia imposed taxes mainly on labor via a regressive flat tax – too right wing to be adopted even in the United States! ..."
"... Theories of Surplus Value ..."
"... This Western financial advice became a textbook example of how not ..."
"... By 1991, when the Soviet Union's leaders decided to take the "Western" path, the Western economies themselves were reaching a terminus. Appearances were saved by a wave of unproductive credit and debt creation to sustain the bubble economy that finally crashed in 2008. ..."
"... The same debt overgrowth occurred in the industrial sector, where bank and bondholder credit since the 1980s has been increasingly for corporate takeovers and raiding, stock buybacks and even to pay dividends. Industry has become a vehicle for financial engineering to increase stock prices and strip assets, not to increase the means of production. The result is that capitalism has fallen prey to resurgent rentier ..."
"... Theories of Surplus Value ..."
"... American Journal of Economics and Sociology ..."
"... Super-Imperialism ..."
"... The Great Credit Crash ..."
"... The Contradictions of Austerity: The Socio-Economic Costs of the Neoliberal Baltic Model ..."
"... Journal of Economic Issues ..."
Oct 20, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org
Socialism a century ago seemed to be the wave of the future. There were various schools of socialism, but the common ideal was to guarantee support for basic needs, and for state ownership to free society from landlords, predatory banking and monopolies. In the West these hopes are now much further away than they seemed in 1917. Land and natural resources, basic infrastructure monopolies, health care and pensions have been increasingly privatized and financialized.

Instead of Germany and other advanced industrial nations leading the way as expected, Russia's October 1917 Revolution made the greatest leap. But the failures of Stalinism became an argument against Marxism – guilt-by-association with Soviet bureaucracy. European parties calling themselves socialist or "labour" since the 1980s have supported neoliberal policies that are the opposite of socialist policy. Russia itself has chosen neoliberalism.

Few socialist parties or theorists have dealt with the rise of the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sector that now accounts for most increase in wealth. Instead of evolving into socialism, Western capitalism is being overcome by predatory finance and rent extraction imposing debt deflation and austerity on industry as well as on labor.

Failure of Western economies to recover from the 2008 crisis is leading to a revival of Marxist advocacy. The alternative to socialist reform is stagnation and a relapse into neofeudal financial and monopoly privileges.

Socialism flowered in the 19 th century as a program to reform capitalism by raising labor's status and living standards, with a widening range of public services and subsidies to make economies more efficient. Reformers hoped to promote this evolution by extending voting rights to the working population at large.

Ricardo's discussion of land rent led early industrial capitalists to oppose Europe's hereditary landlord class. But despite democratic political reform, the world has un-taxed land rent and is still grappling with the problem of how to keep housing affordable instead of siphoning off rent to a landlord class – more recently transmuted into mortgage interest paid to banks by owners who pledge the rental value for loans. Most bank lending today is for real estate mortgages. The effect is to bid up land prices toward the point where the entire rental value is paid as interest. This threatens to be a problem for socialist China as well as for capitalist economies.

Landlords, banks and the cost of living

The classical economists sought to make their nations more competitive by keeping down the price of labor so as to undersell competitors. The main cost of living was food; today it is housing. Housing and food prices are determined not by the material costs of production, but by land rent – the rising market price for land.

In the era of the French Physiocrats, Adam Smith, David Ricardo and John Stuart Mill, this land rent accrued to Europe's hereditary landlord class. Today, the land's rent is paid mainly to bankers – because families need credit to buy a home. Or, if they rent, their landlords use the property rent to pay interest to the banks.

The land issue was central to Russia's October Revolution, as it was for European politics. But the discussion of land rent and taxation has lost much of the clarity (and passion) that guided the 19 th century when it dominated classical political economy, liberal reform, and indeed most early socialist politics.

In 1909/10 Britain experienced a constitutional crisis when the democratically elected House of Commons passed a land tax, only to be overridden by the House of Lords, governed by the old aristocracy. The ensuing political crisis was settled by a rule that the Lords never again could overrule a revenue bill passed by the House of Commons. But that was Britain's last real opportunity to tax away the economic rents of landlords and natural resource owners. The liberal drive to tax the land faltered, and never again would gain serious chance of passage.

The democratization of home ownership during the 20 th century led middle-class voters to oppose property taxes – including taxes on commercial sites and natural resources. Tax policy in general has become pro- rentier and anti-labor – the regressive opposite of 19 th -century liberalism as developed by "Ricardian socialists" such as John Stuart Mill and Henry George. Today's economic individualism has lost the early class consciousness that sought to tax economic rent and socialize banking.

The United States enacted an income tax in 1913, falling mainly on rentier income, not on the working population. Capital gains (the main source of rising wealth today) were taxed at the same rate as other income. But the vested interests campaigned to reverse this spirit, slashing capital gains taxes and making tax policy much more regressive. The result is that today, most wealth is not gained by capital investment for profits. Instead, asset-price gains have been financed by a debt-leveraged inflation of real estate, stock and bond prices.

Many middle-class families owe most of their net worth to rising prices for their homes. But by far the lion's share of the real estate and stock market gains have accrued to just One Percent of the population. And while bank credit has enabled buyers to bid up housing prices, the price has been to siphon off more and more of labor's income to pay mortgage loans or rents. As a result, finance today is what is has been throughout history: the main force polarizing economies between debtors and creditors.

Global oil and mining companies created flags of convenience to make themselves tax-exempt, by pretending to make all their production and distribution profits in tax-free trans-shipping havens such as Liberia and Panama (which use U.S. dollars instead of being real countries with their own currency and tax systems).

The fact that absentee-owned real estate and natural resource extraction are practically free of income taxation shows that democratic political reform has not been a sufficient guarantee of socialist success. Tax rules and public regulation have been captured by the rentiers , dashing the hopes of 19 th -century classical reformers that progressive tax policy would produce the same effect as direct public ownership of the means of production, while leaving "the market" as an individualistic alternative to government regulation or planning.

In practice, planning and resource allocation has passed to the banking and financial sector. Many observers hoped that this would evolve into state planning, or at least work in conjunction with it as in Germany. But liberal "Ricardian socialist" failed, as did German-style "state socialism" publicly financing transportation and other basic infrastructure, pensions and similar "external" costs of living and doing business that industrial employers otherwise would have to bear. Attempts at "half-way" socialism via tax and regulatory policy against monopolies and banking have faltered repeatedly. As long as major economic or political choke points are left in private hands, they will serve s springboards to subvert real reform policies. That is why Marxist policy went beyond these would-be socialist reforms.

To Marx, the historical task of capitalism was to prepare the way for socializing the means of production by clearing away feudalism's legacy: a hereditary landlord class, predatory banking, and the monopolies that financial interests had pried away from governments. The path of least resistance was to start by socializing land and basic infrastructure. This drive to free society from economic overhead in the form of hereditary privilege and unearned income by the "idle rich" was a step toward socialist management, by minimizing rentier costs (" faux frais of production").

Proto-socialist reform in the leading industrial nations

Marx was by no means alone in expecting a widening range of economic activity to be shifted away from the market to the public sector. State socialism (basically, state-sponsored capitalism) subsidized pensions and public health, education and other basic needs so as to save industrial enterprise from having to bear these charges.

In the United States, Simon Patten – the first economics professor at the new Wharton business school at the University of Pennsylvania – defined public infrastructure as a "fourth factor of production" alongside labor, capital and land. The aim of public investment was not to make a profit, but to lower the cost of living and doing business so as to minimize industry's wage and infrastructure bill. Public health, pensions, roads and other transportation, education, research and development were subsidized or provided freely. [1]

The most advanced industrial economies seemed to be evolving toward some kind of socialism. Marx shared a Progressive Era optimism that expected industrial capitalism to evolve in the most logical way, by freeing economies from the landlordship and predatory banking inherited from Europe's feudal era. That was above all the classical reform program of Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill and the intellectual mainstream.

But the aftermath of World War I saw the vested interests mount a Counter-Enlightenment. Banking throughout the Western world find its major market in real estate mortgage lending, natural resource extraction and monopolies – the Anglo-American model, not that of German industrial banking that had seemed to be capitalism's financial future in the late 19 th century.

Since 1980 the Western nations have reversed early optimistic hopes to reform market economies. Instead of the classical dream of taxing away the land rent that had supported Europe's hereditary landed aristocracies, commercial real estate has been made virtually exempt from income taxation. Absentee owners avoid tax by a combination of tax-deductibility for interest payments (as if it is a necessary business expense) and fictitious over-depreciation tax credits that pretend that buildings and properties are losing value even when market prices for their land are soaring.

These tax breaks have made real estate the largest bank customers. The effect has been to financialize property rents into interest payments. Likewise in the industrial sphere, regulatory capture by lobbyists for the major monopolies has disabled public attempts to keep prices in line with the cost of production and prevent fraud by breaking up or regulating monopolies. These too have become major bank clients.

The beginning and end of Russian socialism

Most Marxists expected socialism to emerge first in Germany as the most advanced capitalist economy. After its October 1917 Revolution, Russia seemed to jump ahead, the first nation to free itself from rent and interest charges inherited from feudalism. By taking land, industry and finance into state control, Soviet Russia's October Revolution created an economy without private landlords and bankers. Russian urban planning did not take account of the natural rent-of-location, nor did it charge for the use of money created by the state bank. The state bank created money and credit, so there was no need to rely on a wealthy financial class. And as property owner, the state did not seek to charge land rent or monopoly rent.

By freeing society from the post-feudal rentier class of landlords, bankers and predatory finance, the Soviet regime was much more than a bourgeois revolution. The Revolution's early leaders sought to free wage labor from exploitation by taking industry into the public domain. State companies provided labor with free lunches, education, sports and leisure activity, and modest housing.

Agricultural land tenure was a problem. Given its centralized marketing role, the state could have reallocated land to build up a rural peasantry and helped it invest in modernization. The state could have manipulated crop prices to siphon off agricultural gains, much like Cargill does in the United States. Instead, Stalin's collectivization program waged a war against the kulaks. This political shock led to famine. It was a steep price to pay for avoiding rent was paid to a landlord class or peasantry.

Marx had said nothing about the military dimension of the transition from progressive industrial capitalism to socialism. But Russia's Revolution – like that of China three decades later – showed that the attempt to create a socialist economy had a military dimension that absorbed the lion's share of the economic surplus. Military aggression by a half dozen leading capitalist nations seeking to overthrow the Bolshevik government obliged Russia to adopt War Communism. For over half a century the Soviet Union devoted most of capital to military investment, not provide sufficient housing or consumer goods for its population beyond spreading literacy, education and public health.

Despite this military overhead, the fact that the Soviet Union was free of a rentier class of financiers and absentee landlords should have made the Soviet Union the world's most competitive low-cost economy in theory. In 1945 the United States certainly feared the efficiency of socialist planning. Its diplomats opposed Soviet membership on the ground that state enterprise and pricing would enable such economies to undersell capitalist countries. [2] So socialist countries were kept out of the IMF, World Bank and the planned World Trade Organization, explicitly on the ground that they were free of land rent, natural resource rent, monopoly rent and financial charges.

Capitalist economies are now privatizing and financializing their basic needs and infrastructure. Every activity is being forced into "the market," at prices that need to cover not only the technological costs of production but also interest, ancillary financial fees and pension set-asides. The cost of living and doing business is further privatized as financial interests pry roads, health care, water, communications and other public utilities away from the public sector, while driving housing and commercial real estate deeply into debt.

The Cold War has shown that capitalist countries plan to continue fighting socialist economies, forcing them to militarize in self-defense. The resulting oppressive military overhead is then blamed on socialist bureaucracy and inefficiency.

The collapse of Russian Stalinism

Russia's Revolution ended after 74 years, leaving the Soviet Union so dispirited that it ended in collapse. The contrast between the low living standards of Russian consumers and what seemed to be Western success became increasingly pronounced. In contrast to China's housing construction policy, the Soviet regime insisted that families double up. Clothing and other consumer goods had only drab designs, needlessly suppressing variety. To cap matters, public opposition to Russia's military personnel losses in Afghanistan caused popular resentment.

When the Soviet Union dissolved itself in 1991, its leaders took neoliberal advice from its major adversary, the United States, in hope that this would set it on a capitalist road to prosperity. But turning its economies into viable industrial powers was the last thing U.S. advisors wanted to teach Russia. [3] Their aim was to turn it and its former satellites into raw-materials colonies of Wall Street, the City of London and Frankfurt – victims of capitalism, not rival producers.

Russia has gone to the furthest anti-socialist extreme by adopting a flat tax that fails to distinguish wages and profits of labor and capital from unearned rental income. By also having to pay a value-added tax (VAT) on consumer goods (with no tax on trading in financial assets), labor is taxed much higher than the wealthy.

Most Western "wealth creation" is achieved by debt-leveraged price increases for real estate, stocks and bonds, and by privatizing the public domain. The latter process has gained momentum since the early 1980s in Margaret Thatcher's Britain and Ronald Reagan's America, followed by Third World countries acting under World Bank tutelage. The pretense is that privatization will maximize technological efficiency and prosperity for the economy as a whole.

Following this advice, Russian leaders agreed that the major sources of economic rent – natural resource wealth, real estate and state companies – should be transferred to private owners (often to themselves and associated insiders). The "magic of the marketplace" was supposed to lead the new owners to make the economy more efficient as a byproduct of making money in the quickest way possible.

Each Russian worker got a "voucher" worth about $25. Most were sold off simply to obtain money to buy food and other needs as many companies stopped paying wages. Russia had wiped out domestic savings with hyperinflation after 1991.

It should not be surprising that banks became the economy's main control centers, as in the West's bubble economies. Instead of the promised prosperity, a new class of billionaires was endowed, headed by the notorious Seven Bankers who appropriated the formerly state-owned oil and gas, nickel and platinum, electricity and aluminum production, as well as real estate, electric utilities and other public enterprises. It was the largest giveaway in modern history. The Soviet nomenklatura became the new lords in outright seizure that Marx would have characterized as "primitive accumulation."

The American advisors knew the obvious: Russian savings had been wiped out by the polst-1991 hyperinflation, so the new owners could only cash out by selling shares to Western buyers. The kleptocrats cashed out as expected, by dumping their shares to foreign investors so quickly at such giveaway prices that Russia's stock market became the world's top performer for Western investors in 1994-96.

The Russian oligarchs kept most of their sales proceeds abroad in British and other banks, beyond the reach of Russian authorities to recapture. Much was spent on London real estate, sports teams and luxury estates in the world's flight-capital havens. Almost none was invested in Russian industry. Wage arrears often mounted up half a year behind. Living standards shrank, along with the population as birth rates plunged throughout the former Soviet economies. Skilled labor emigrated.

The basic neoliberal idea of prosperity is financial gain based on turning rent extraction into a flow of interest payments by buyers-on-credit. This policy favors financial engineering over industrial investment, reversing the Progressive Era's industrial capitalism that Marx anticipated would be a transition stage leading to socialism. Russia adopted the West's anti-socialist rollback toward neofeudalism.

Russian officials failed to understand the State Theory of money that is the basis of Modern Monetary Theory: States can create their own money, giving it value by accepting it in payment of taxes. The Soviet government financed its economy for seventy years without any need to back the ruble with foreign exchange. But Russia's central bank was persuaded that "sound money" required it to back its domestic ruble currency with U.S. Treasury bonds in order to prevent inflation. Russian leaders did not realize that dollars or other foreign currencies were only needed to finance balance-of-payments deficits, not domestic spending except as this money was spent on imports.

Russia joined the dollar standard. Buying Treasury bonds meant lending to the U.S. Government. The central bank bought U.S. Treasury securities to back its domestic currency. These purchases helped finance Cold War escalation in countries around Russia. Russia paid 100% annual interest in the mid-1990s, creating a bonanza for U.S. investors. On balance, this neoliberal policy lay Russia's economy open to looting by financial institutions seeking natural resource rent, land rent and monopoly rent for themselves. Instead of targeting such rents, Russia imposed taxes mainly on labor via a regressive flat tax – too right wing to be adopted even in the United States!

When the Soviet Union dissolved itself, its officials showed no apprehension of how quickly their economies would be de-industrialized as a result of accepting U.S. advice to privatize state enterprises, natural resources and basic infrastructure. Whatever knowledge of Marx's analysis of capitalism had existed (perhaps in Nicolai Bukharin's time) was long gone. It is as if no Russian official had read Volumes II and III of Marx's Capital (or Theories of Surplus Value ) where he reviewed the laws of economic rent and interest-bearing debt.

The inability of Russia, the Baltics and other post-Soviet countries to understand the FIRE sector and its financial dynamics provides an object lesson for other countries as to what to avoid. Reversing the principles of Russia's October 1917 Revolution, the post-Soviet kleptocracy was akin to the feudal epoch's "primitive accumulation" of the land and commons. They adopted the neoliberal business plan: to establish monopolies, first and most easily by privatizing the public infrastructure that had been built up, extracting economic rents and them paying out the resulting as interest and dividends.

This Western financial advice became a textbook example of how not to organize an economy. [4] Having rejoined the global economy free of debt in 1991, Russia's population, companies and government quickly ran up debts as a result of its man-made disaster. Families could have been given their homes freely, just as corporate managers were given their entire companies virtually for free. But Russian managers were as anti-labor as they were greedy to grab their own assets from the public domain. Soaring housing prices quickly plagued Russian's economy with one of the world's highest-priced living and business costs. That prevented any thought of industrial competitiveness with the United States or Europe. What passed for Soviet Marxism lacked an understanding of how economic rents and the ensuing high labor costs affected international prices, or how debt service and capital flight affected the currency's exchange rate.

Adversaries of socialism pronounced Marxist theory dead, as if the Soviet dissolution meant the end of Marxism. But today, less than three decades later, the leading Western economies are themselves succumbing to an overgrowth of debt and shrinking prosperity. Russia failed to recognize that just as its own economy was expiring, so was the West's. Industrial capitalism is succumbing to a predatory finance capitalism that is leaving Western economies debt-ridden. [5] The underlying causes were clear already a century ago: unchecked financial rentiers , absentee ownership and monopolies.

The post-Soviet collapse in the 1990s was not a failure of Marxism, but of the anti-socialist ideology that is plunging Western economies under domination by the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sector's symbiosis of the three forms of rent extraction: land and natural resource rent, monopoly rent, and interest (financial rent). This is precisely the fate from which 19 th -century socialism, Marxism and even state capitalism sought to save the industrial economies.

A silver lining to the Soviet "final" stage has been to free Marxist analysis from Russian Marxology. Its focus of Soviet Marxology was not an analysis of how the capitalist nations were becoming financialized neo- rentier economies, but was mainly propagandistic, ossifying into a stereotyped identity politics appealing to labor and oppressed minorities. Today's revival of Marxist scholarship has begun to show how the U.S.-centered global economy is entering a period of chronic austerity, debt deflation, and polarization between creditors and debtors.

Financialization and privatization are submerging capitalism in debt deflation

By 1991, when the Soviet Union's leaders decided to take the "Western" path, the Western economies themselves were reaching a terminus. Appearances were saved by a wave of unproductive credit and debt creation to sustain the bubble economy that finally crashed in 2008.

The pitfalls of this financial dynamic were not apparent in the early years after World War II, largely because economies emerged with their private sectors free of debt. The ensuing boom endowed the middle class in the United States and other countries, but was debt financed, first for home ownership and commercial real estate, then by consumer credit to purchase of automobiles and appliances, and finally by credit-card debt just to meet living expenses.

The same debt overgrowth occurred in the industrial sector, where bank and bondholder credit since the 1980s has been increasingly for corporate takeovers and raiding, stock buybacks and even to pay dividends. Industry has become a vehicle for financial engineering to increase stock prices and strip assets, not to increase the means of production. The result is that capitalism has fallen prey to resurgent rentier interests instead of liberating economies from absentee landlords, predatory banking and monopolies. Banks and bondholders have found their most lucrative market not in the manufacturing sector but in real estate and natural resource extraction.

These vested interests have translated their takings into the political power to shed taxes and dismantle regulations on wealth. The resulting political Counter-Reformation has inverted the idea of "free market" to mean an economy free for rent extractors, not free from landlords, monopolists and financial exploitation as Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill and other classical economists had envisioned. The word "reform" as used by today's neoliberal media means undoing Progressive Era reforms, dismantling public regulation and government power – except for control by finance and its allied vested interests.

All this is the opposite of socialism, which has now sunk to its nadir through the Western World. The past four decades have seen most of the European and North American parties calling themselves "socialist" make an about-face to follow Tony Blair's New Labour, the French socialists-in-name and the Clinton's New Democrats. They support privatization, financialization and a shift away from progressive taxation to a value-added tax (VAT) falling on consumers, not on finance or real estate.

China's socialist diplomacy in today's hostile world

Now that Western finance capitalism is stagnating, it is fighting even harder to prevent the post-2008 crisis from leading to socialist reforms that would re-socialize infrastructure that has been privatized and put a public banking system in place. Depicting the contrast between socialist and finance-capitalist economies as a clash of civilizations, U.S.-centered "Western" diplomacy is using military and political subversion to prevent a transition from capitalism into socialism.

China is the leading example of socialist success in a mixed economy. Unlike the Soviet Union, it has not proselytized its economic system or sought to promote revolution abroad to emulate its economic doctrine. Just the opposite: To avert attack, China has given foreign investors a stake in its economic growth. The aim has been to mobilize U.S. and other foreign interests as allies, willing customers for China's exports, and suppliers of modern production facilities in China.

This is the opposite of the antagonism that confronted Russia. The risk is that it involves financial investment. But China has protected its autonomy by requiring majority Chinese ownership in most sectors. The main danger is domestic, in the form of financial dynamics and private rent extraction. The great economic choice facing China today concerns the degree to which land and natural resources should be taxed.

The state owns the land, but does fully tax its rising valuation or rent-of-location that has made many families rich. Letting the resulting real-estate and financialized wealth dominate its economic growth poses two dangers: First, it increases the price that new buyers must pay for their home. Second, rising housing prices force these families to borrow – at interest. This turns the rental value of land – value created by society and public infrastructure investment – into a flow of interest to the banks. They end up receiving more over time than the sellers, while increasing the cost of living and doing business. That is a fate which a socialist economy must avoid at all costs.

At issue is how China can best manage credit and natural resource rent in a way that best meets the needs of its population. Now that China has built up a prosperous industry and real estate, its main challenge is to avoid the financial dynamics that are subjecting the West to debt deflation and burying Western economies. To avoid these dynamics, China must curtail the proliferation of unproductive debt created merely to transfer property on credit, inflating asset prices in the process.

Socialism is incompatible with a rentier class of landlords, natural resource owners and monopolists – the preferred clients of banks hoping to turn economic rent into interest charges. As a vehicle to allocate resources "the market" reflects the status quo of property ownership and credit-creation privileges at any given moment of time, without consideration for what is fair and efficient or predatory. Vested interests claim that such a market is an immutable force of nature, whose course cannot be altered by government "interference." This rhetoric of political passivity aims to deter politicians and voters from regulating economies, leaving the wealthy free to extract as much economic rent and interest as markets can bear by privatizing real estate, natural resources, banking and other monopolies.

Such rent seeking is antithetical to socialism's aim to take these assets into the public domain. That is why the financial sector, oil and mineral extractors and monopolists fight so passionately to dismantle state regulatory power and public banking. That is the diplomacy of finance capital, aiming to consolidate American hegemony over a unipolar world. It backs this strategy with a neoliberal academic curriculum that depicts predatory financial and rentier gains as if they add to national income, not simply transfer it into the hands of the rentier classes. This misleading picture of economic reality poses a danger for China sending its students to study economics at American and European universities.

The century that has elapsed since Russia's October 1917 Revolution has produced a substantial Marxist literature describing how finance capitalism has overpowered industrial capitalism. Its dynamics occupied Marx in Volumes II and III of Capital (and also his Theories of Surplus Value ). Like most observers of his era, Marx expected capitalism to make a substantial step toward socialism by overcoming the dynamics of parasitic capital, above all the tendency for debt to keep on expanding at compound interest until it produces a financial crash.

The only way to control banks and their allied rentier sectors is outright socialization. The past century has shown that if society does not control the banks and financial sector, they will control society. Their strategy is to block government money creation so that economies will be forced to rely on banks and bondholders. Regulatory authority to limit such financial aggression and the monopoly pricing and rent extraction it supports has been crippled in the West by "regulatory capture" by the rentier oligarchy.

Attempts to tax away rental income (the liberal alternative to taking real estate and natural resources directly into the public domain) is prone to lobbying for loopholes and evasion, most notoriously via offshore banking centers in tax-avoidance enclaves and the "flags of convenience" sponsored by the global oil and mining companies. This leaves the only way to save society from the financial power to convert rent into interest to be a policy of nationalizing natural resources, fully taxing land rent (where land and minerals are not taken directly into the public domain), and de-privatizing infrastructure and other key sectors.

Conclusion

Markets have not recovered for the products of American industry and labor since 2008. Industrial capitalism has been sacrificed to a form of finance capitalism that is looking more pre-capitalist (or simply oligarchic and neofeudal) with each passing year. The resulting polarization forces every economy – including China – to choose between saving its bankers and other creditors or freeing debtors and lowering the economy's cost structure. Will the government enforce bank and bondholder claims, or will it give priority to the economy and its people? That is an eternal political question spanning pre-capitalist, capitalist and post-capitalist economies.

Marx described the mathematics of compound interest expanding to absorb the entire economy as age-old, long predating industrial capitalism. He characterized the ancient mode of production as dominated by slavery and usury, and medieval banking as predatory. These financial dynamics exist in socialist economies just as they did in medieval and ancient economies. The way in which governments manage the dynamics of credit and debt thus are the dominant force in every era, and should receive the most pressing attention today as China shapes its socialist future.

Notes.

[1] I give the details in "Simon Patten on Public Infrastructure and Economic Rent Capture," American Journal of Economics and Sociology 70 (October 2011):873-903.

[2] My book Super-Imperialism (1972; new ed. 2002) reviews this discussion during 1944-46.

[3] I discuss the IMF and World Bank plan to wipe out Russian savings with hyperinflation and make manufacturing investment uneconomic in "How Neoliberal Tax and Financial Policy Impoverishes Russia – Needlessly," Mir Peremen (The World of Transformations), 2012 (3):49-64 (in Russian). МИР ПЕРЕМЕН 3/2012 (ISSN 2073-3038) Mir peremen М. ХАДСОН, Неолиберальная налоговая и финансовая политика приводит к обнищанию России, 49-64.

[4] I give details in "How Neoliberals Bankrupted 'New Europe': Latvia in the Global Credit Crisis," (with Jeffrey Sommers), in Martijn Konings, ed., The Great Credit Crash (Verso: London and New York, 2010), pp. 244-63, and "Stockholm Syndrome in the Baltics: Latvia's neoliberal war against labor and industry," in Jeffrey Sommers and Charles Woolfson , eds., The Contradictions of Austerity: The Socio-Economic Costs of the Neoliberal Baltic Model (Routledge 2014), pp. 44-63.

[5] For more analysis see Dirk Bezemer and Michael Hudson, " Finance is Not the Economy: Reviving the Conceptual Distinction ," Journal of Economic Issues , 50 (2016: #3), pp. 745-768.

[Oct 18, 2017] Spy Schools How the CIA, FBI and Foreign Intelligence Secretly Exploit America's Universities by Nick Roll

Notable quotes:
"... Spy Schools: How the CIA, FBI and Foreign Intelligence Secretly Exploit America's Universities ..."
"... The Boston Globe ..."
"... Inside Higher Ed ..."
"... The Wall Street Journal ..."
"... The Price of Admission ..."
"... Inside Higher Ed ..."
"... Inside Higher Ed ..."
"... look back to Stalin, Hitler, Franco, Mao, Mussolini et.al with THIER use of domestic agencies to impose lock-step thinking and to ferret out free-thinkers. ..."
"... It is amazing how many biochemists and microbiologists from the People's Republic of China would e-mail me asking if I had a position in my "lab," touting their bench skills, every time I published a paper on the federal bioterrorism program, medical civic action programs, etc. ..."
"... When I started teaching 48 years ago, the president of my college was James Dovonan, Bill Donovan's (founder of the OSS) brother, portrayed by Tom Hanks in the movie, "Bridge of Spies." ..."
"... Beyond NIH funded grant-based research, Homeland Security, Energy, Defense, and the Intelligence Community agencies have long histories of relationships with American academia. This could be funded research, collaborative research, shared personnel relationships, or all other manner of cooperation. Sometimes it's fairly well known and sometimes it's kept quiet, and sometimes it's even classified. But it is much more extensive and expansive than what Golden describes, and much less "cozy" or suspicious. ..."
"... For years I have said that it is foolish to look to universities for moral guidance, and this story is one more instance. In this case, the moral ground is swampy at best, and the universities do not appear to have spent a lot of time worrying about possible problems as long as the situation works to their advantage financially. ..."
"... Does Golden discuss at all the way in which the CIA and other intelligence services funnel money into academic research without the source of the funding ever being revealed? This was common practice in the 1960s and 1970s, and colleges like MIT were among those involved in this chicanery. ..."
"... Where has IHE been for the past several decades? Read Rosenfeld's book, Subversives..... about the FBI's illegal acts at Berkeley. Or read this, a summary of his book: https://alumni.berkeley.edu... Or read George R. Stewart, The Year of the Oath. ..."
www.chronicle.com
October 3, 2017

The CIA Within Academe 21 Comments

Book documents how foreign and domestic intelligence agencies use -- and perhaps exploit -- higher education and academe for spy operations.
Foreign and domestic intelligence services spar and spy on one another all across the world. But it would be naïve to think it's not happening in the lab or classroom as well.

In his new book, Spy Schools: How the CIA, FBI and Foreign Intelligence Secretly Exploit America's Universities ( Henry Holt and Company ), investigative journalist Daniel Golden explores the fraught -- and sometimes exploitative -- relationship between higher education and intelligence services, both foreign and domestic. Chapters explore various case studies of the Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation using the open and collaborative nature of higher education to their advantage, as well as foreign governments infiltrating the U.S. via education.

"It's pretty widespread, and I'd say it's most prevalent at research universities," Golden, an editor at ProPublica and an alumnus of The Boston Globe 's "Spotlight" team, told Inside Higher Ed . "The foreign intelligence services have the interest and the opportunity to learn cutting-edge, Pentagon-funded or government-funded research."

Golden, who has also covered higher education for The Wall Street Journal , previously wrote about the intersection of wealth and admissions in his 2006 book The Price of Admission .

Each of the case studies in Spy Schools , which goes on sale Oct. 10, is critical. One could read the chapters on the Chinese government's interest in U.S. research universities as hawkish, but then turn to the next chapter on Harvard's relationship with the CIA and read it as critical of the American intelligence establishment as well.

"People of one political persuasion might focus on [the chapters regarding] foreign espionage; people of another political persuasion might focus on domestic espionage," Golden said. "I try to follow where the facts lead."

Perhaps the most prestigious institution Golden examines is Harvard University, probing its cozy relationship with the CIA. (While Harvard has recently come under scrutiny for its relationship with the agency after it withdrew an invitation for Chelsea Manning to be a visiting fellow -- after the agency objected to her appointment -- this book was written before the Manning incident, which occurred in September.) The university, which has had varying degrees of closeness and coldness with the CIA over the years, currently allows the agency to send officers to the midcareer program at the Kennedy School of Government while continuing to act undercover, with the school's knowledge. When the officers apply -- often with fudged credentials that are part of their CIA cover -- the university doesn't know they're CIA agents, but once they're in, Golden writes, Harvard allows them to tell the university that they're undercover. Their fellow students, however -- often high-profile or soon-to-be-high-profile actors in the world of international diplomacy -- are kept in the dark.

"Kenneth Moskow is one of a long line of CIA officers who have enrolled undercover at the Kennedy School, generally with Harvard's knowledge and approval, gaining access to up-and-comers worldwide," Golden writes. "For four decades the CIA and Harvard have concealed this practice, which raises larger questions about academic boundaries, the integrity of class discussions and student interactions, and whether an American university has a responsibility to accommodate U.S. intelligence."

But the CIA isn't the only intelligence group operating at Harvard. Golden notes Russian spies have enrolled at the Kennedy School, although without Harvard's knowledge or cooperation.

When contacted by Inside Higher Ed , Harvard officials didn't deny Golden's telling, but defended the university's practices while emphasizing the agreement between the university and the CIA -- which Golden also writes about -- on not using Harvard to conduct CIA fieldwork.

"Harvard Kennedy School does not knowingly provide false information or 'cover' for any member of our community from an intelligence agency, nor do we allow members of our community to carry out intelligence operations at Harvard Kennedy School," Eric Rosenbach, co-director of the Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, said in a statement.

While Golden said the CIA's involvement on campus raises existential questions about the purpose and integrity of higher education, Harvard maintained that the Kennedy School was living up to its mission.

"Our community consists of people from different spheres of public service. We are proud to train people from the U.S. government and the intelligence community, as well as peace activists and those who favor more open government," Rosenbach said in his statement. "We train students from a wide range of foreign countries and foreign governments, including -- among others -- Israel, U.K., Russia and China. That is consistent with our mission and we are proud to have that reach."

On the other hand, other countries are interested in exploiting U.S. higher education. Golden documents the case of Ruopeng Liu, a graduate student at Duke University who siphoned off U.S.-government-funded research to Chinese researchers. Liu eventually returned to China and has used some of the research for his Chinese-government-funded start-up ventures.

Golden is comprehensive, interviewing Duke researchers who worked with Liu, as well as dispatching a freelance journalist in China to interview Liu (he denied wrongdoing, saying his actions were taken as part of higher education's collaborative norms regarding research projects). Despite questions that arose while Liu was a student, he received his doctorate in 2009 without any formal questions or pushback from the university. A week before Liu defended his dissertation, Golden notes that Duke officials voted to move forward in negotiations with the Chinese government regarding opening a Duke campus in China -- raising questions about whether Duke was cautious about punishing a Chinese student lest there were negative business implications for Duke. ( The building of the campus proved to be a controversial move in its own right. )

The Duke professor Liu worked under told Golden it would be hard to prove Liu acted with intentional malice rather than out of genuine cultural and translational obstacles, or ethical slips made by a novice researcher. Duke officials told Inside Higher Ed that there weren't any connections between Liu and the vote.

"The awarding of Ruopeng Liu's degree had absolutely no connection to the deliberations over the proposal for Duke to participate in the founding of a new university in Kunshan, China," a spokesman said in an email.

These are just two chapters of Golden's book, which also goes on to document the foreign exchange relationship between Marietta College, in Ohio, and the controversial Chinese-intelligence-aligned University of International Relations. Agreements between Marietta and UIR, which is widely regarded a recruiting ground for Chinese intelligence services, include exchanging professors and sending Chinese students to Marietta. Conversely, Golden writes, as American professors teach UIR students who could end up spying on the U.S., American students at Marietta are advised against studying abroad at UIR if they have an interest in working for the government -- studying at UIR carries a risk for students hoping to get certain security clearances. Another highlight is the chapter documenting the CIA's efforts to stage phony international academic conferences, put on to lure Iranian nuclear scientists as attendees and get them out of their country -- and in a position to defect to the U.S. According to Golden's sources, the operations, combined with other efforts, have been successful enough "to hinder Iran's nuclear weapons program."

But Golden's book doesn't just shed light on previously untold stories. It also highlights the existential questions facing higher education, not only when dealing with infiltration from foreign governments, but also those brought on by cozy relationships between the U.S. intelligence and academe.

"One issue is American national security," Golden said. "Universities do a lot of research that's important to our government and our military, and they don't take very strong precautions against it being stolen," he said. "So the domestic espionage side -- I'm kind of a traditionalist and I believe in the ideal of universities as places where the brightest minds of all countries come together to learn, teach each other, study and do research. Espionage from both sides taints that that's kind of disturbing."

After diving deep into the complex web that ties higher education and espionage together, however, Golden remains optimistic about the future.

"It wouldn't be that hard to tighten up the intellectual property rules and have written collaboration agreements and have more courses about intellectual safeguards," he said. "In the 1970s, Harvard adopted guidelines against U.S. intelligence trying to recruit foreign students in an undercover way they didn't become standard practice [across academe, but], I still think those guidelines are pertinent and colleges would do well to take a second look at them."

"In the idealistic dreamer mode, it would be wonderful if the U.N. or some other organization would take a look at this issue, and say, 'Can we declare universities off-limits to espionage?'"

Nicholas Dujmovic , October 3, 2017 8:18 AM

Equating the presence and activities of US intelligence on campuses with that of foreign intelligence is pretty obtuse moral relativism. US academia and US intelligence alike benefit from cooperation, and the American people are the winners overall. By the way, is it really necessary to twice describe this relationship as "cozy"? What does that mean, other to suggest there's something illicit about it?

Grace Alcock -> Nicholas Dujmovic , October 4, 2017 1:30 AM

It'd be nice if American intelligence was paying a bit more attention to what goes on in academic research--as far as I can tell, the country keeps making policies that don't seem particularly well-informed by the research in relevant areas. Can we get them to infiltrate more labs of scientists working on climate change or something?

Maybe stick around, engage in some participant observation and figure that research out? It's not clear they have any acquaintance with the literature on the causes of war. Really, pick a place to start, and pay attention.

alsotps -> Nicholas Dujmovic , October 3, 2017 5:20 PM

If you cannot see how a gov't intelligence agency, prohibited from working in the USA by statute and who is eye-deep in AMERICAN education is wrong, then I am worried. Read history. Look back to the 1970's to start and to the 1950's with FBI and the military agents in classrooms; then read about HUAC.

Now, look back to Stalin, Hitler, Franco, Mao, Mussolini et.al with THIER use of domestic agencies to impose lock-step thinking and to ferret out free-thinkers.

Get it? it is 'illicit!"

Nicholas Dujmovic -> alsotps , October 4, 2017 12:38 PM

Actually, I read quite a bit of history. I also know that US intelligence agencies are not "prohibited from working in the USA." If they have relationships in academia that remind you of Stalin, Hitler, etc., how have US agencies "imposed lock-step thinking and ferreted out free-thinkers?" Hasn't seemed to work, has it? Your concern is overwrought.

Former Community College Prof -> Nicholas Dujmovic , October 3, 2017 12:12 PM

"Cozy" might refer to the mutual gains afforded by allowing the federal government to break many rules (and laws) while conducting their "intelligence operations" in academe. I do not know if I felt Homeland Security should have had permission to bring to this country, under false premises supported by ICE and accrediting agencies, thousands of foreign nationals and employed them at companies like Facebook, Apple, Morgan Stanley and the U.S. Army. While Homeland Security collected 16K tuition from each of them (and the companies that hired these F-1s didn't have to pay FICA) all our nation got was arrests of 20 mid level visa brokers.

https://www.nytimes.com/201...

Personally, I think cozy was quite complimentary as I would have chosen other words. Just imagine if there are additional "undercover students" with false credentials in numbers significant enough to throw off data or stopping universities and colleges from enforcing rules and regulations. If you set up and accredit a "fake university" and keep the proceeds, it strikes me as illicit.

alsotps -> Former Community College Prof , October 3, 2017 5:21 PM

Hey...don't imagine it. Read about Cointelpro and military 'intelligence' agents in classes in the early 1970's....

Trevor Ronson -> Nicholas Dujmovic , October 3, 2017 2:36 PM

And behaving as if the "the presence and activities of US intelligence on campuses" is something to accept without question is also "obtuse moral relativism". We are talking about an arrangement wherein a / the most prestigious institutions of higher learning has an established relationship with the CIA along with some accepted protocol to ongoing participation.

Whether it is right, wrong, or in between is another matter but please don't pretend that it's just business as usual and not worthy of deeper investigation.

alsotps -> Trevor Ronson , October 3, 2017 5:16 PM

Unfortunately for many people, it IS business as usual.

George Avery , October 3, 2017 9:46 AM

It is amazing how many biochemists and microbiologists from the People's Republic of China would e-mail me asking if I had a position in my "lab," touting their bench skills, every time I published a paper on the federal bioterrorism program, medical civic action programs, etc.

Never mind that I primarily do health policy and economics work, and have not been near a lab bench since I returned to school for my doctorate.....anything with a defense or security application drew a flurry of interest in getting involved.

As a result, I tended to be very discerning in who I took on as an advisee, if only to protect my security clearance.

alsotps -> George Avery , October 3, 2017 5:22 PM

PAr for the course for both UG and grad students from China who have not paid a head hunter. ANY school or program offering money to international students was flooded by such inquiries. Get over yourself.

John Lobell , October 3, 2017 6:25 AM

When I started teaching 48 years ago, the president of my college was James Dovonan, Bill Donovan's (founder of the OSS) brother, portrayed by Tom Hanks in the movie, "Bridge of Spies."

We had a program in "Tropical Architecture" which enrolled students form "third world" countries. Rumor was -- --

jloewen , October 3, 2017 10:38 AM

When I got my Ph.D. from Harvard in 1968, the Shah of Iran got an honorary doctorate at the same commencement. The next year, by pure coincidence!, he endowed three chairs of Near Eastern Studies at H.U.

alsotps -> jloewen , October 3, 2017 5:24 PM

Absolutely a coincidence! You don't think honoraria have anything whatsoever to do with the Development Office do you? (Snark)

Kevin Van Elswyk , October 3, 2017 9:31 AM

And we are surpised?

Robert4787 , October 4, 2017 6:28 PM

So glad to see they're on campus. Many young people now occupy the CIA; the old "cowboys" of the Cold War past are gone. U may find this interesting>> http://osintdaily.blogspot....

TinkerTailor1620 , October 3, 2017 5:29 PM

Hundreds of government civil servants attend courses at the Kennedy School every year. That a few of them come from the CIA should be no surprise. It and all the other intelligence agencies are nothing more than departments within the federal government, just like Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, the FDA, Energy, and so on. Nothing sneaky or suspicious about any of it. Why anyone with cover credentials would tell the Kennedy School admin that is beyond me. When I was in cover status, I was in cover status everywhere; to not be was to blow your cover, period, and was extremely dangerous.

Beyond NIH funded grant-based research, Homeland Security, Energy, Defense, and the Intelligence Community agencies have long histories of relationships with American academia. This could be funded research, collaborative research, shared personnel relationships, or all other manner of cooperation. Sometimes it's fairly well known and sometimes it's kept quiet, and sometimes it's even classified. But it is much more extensive and expansive than what Golden describes, and much less "cozy" or suspicious.

Phred , October 3, 2017 1:49 PM

For years I have said that it is foolish to look to universities for moral guidance, and this story is one more instance. In this case, the moral ground is swampy at best, and the universities do not appear to have spent a lot of time worrying about possible problems as long as the situation works to their advantage financially.

alsotps -> Phred , October 3, 2017 5:25 PM

The key, here, is financially. The bean counters and those whose research is funded don't look hard at the source of the funding. Just so it keeps coming.

Jason , October 4, 2017 6:34 PM

Academic treason.

Sanford Gray Thatcher , October 4, 2017 6:13 PM

Does Golden discuss at all the way in which the CIA and other intelligence services funnel money into academic research without the source of the funding ever being revealed? This was common practice in the 1960s and 1970s, and colleges like MIT were among those involved in this chicanery.

Remember also how intelligence agency money was behind the journal Encounter? Lots of propaganda got distributed under the guise of objective social science research.

donald scott , October 3, 2017 6:05 PM

Where has IHE been for the past several decades? Read Rosenfeld's book, Subversives..... about the FBI's illegal acts at Berkeley. Or read this, a summary of his book: https://alumni.berkeley.edu... Or read George R. Stewart, The Year of the Oath.

In the research for my biography of Stewart I found significant information about CIA presence on the UC Berkeley campus, in the mid-twentieth century, which reached in to the highest levels of the administration and led to a network of "professors" recruited by that unAmerican spy agency.

The oaths, the current gender wars and the conviction by accusation of harassment are all later attempts to politicize education and turn fiat lux into fiat nox. IHE should be writing more about that and about the current conviction by sexual accusation, and the effect of such on free thought and free inquiry.

[Oct 16, 2017] matveychev-oleg.livejournal.com

Oct 16, 2017 | matveychev-oleg.livejournal.com

-- Согласно внешнеполитической доктрине США само существование Советского Союза было несовместимо с американской безопасностью. Изменилось ли, на Ваш взгляд, отношение США к России после официальной констатации окончания "холодной войны" и распада СССР?

-- К 1991 году, если судить по документам МВФ и ряду документов внутри самих США, американцами было проведено глубокое изучение нашей экономики и морально-политического состояния и настроения советского народа. Конгресс США рассмотрел эти материалы и в результате был принят закон 102 от 1992 года под оскорбительным для России названием "Закон о свободе для России и новых независимых государств". Одновременно, осенью 1992 года, Объединённый комитет начальников штабов США доложил президенту и Конгрессу оценку состояния Вооружённых Сил США, где в первом же абзаце 11-й главы "Специальные операции" говорится, что, не смотря на то, что руководители России взяли на себя обязательства реформировать свои Вооружённые Силы и правоохранительные органы, Россия всё равно будет оставаться нашим главным противником, требующим самого пристального внимания.

( Читать дальше... Свернуть )
-- Но можно ведь и сказать, что это были только первые постсоветские годы, и США, быть может, ещё находились под впечатлением недавнего милитаристского с их точки зрения прошлого нашей страны? Просто-напросто не спешили нам доверять.

-- Можно сказать, что тогда ещё было горячее время, "лихие 1990-е", но Несколько лет тому назад Норвежский институт стратегических исследований опубликовал работу, написанную бывшим советским офицером, который, вероятно, когда-то "ушёл" на Запад (я специально не исследовал это обстоятельство) под названием "Может ли территория бывшей сверхдержавы стать полем боя". В ней он, исходя из собственного опыта и на основании анализа многих документов, даёт заключение, какое сопротивление на территории России могут встретить военные подразделения стран НАТО: в каком месте их будут встречать камнями, в каком месте будут стрелять, а в каком будут приветствовать.

Насколько нам удалось понять, в дальнейшем наблюдая за судьбой этой работы, она прошла большой круг исследования в странах НАТО и была очень серьёзно принята в США. Они, конечно, никогда в этом не признаются, но это так. Так что я полностью уверен, что со времён крушения Советского Союза отношение США к нам не изменилось. Сегодняшнее внимание США к России -- это внимание к не поверженному окончательно в 1991 году противнику. И США руководствуются этим принципом в осуществлении своей внешней политики.

-- Если США, по-прежнему нам не доверяют и, мягко говоря, не способствуют нашему развитию, то почему они не боялись возрождения послевоенной Германии, своего реального врага на поле боя?

-- Возрождения послевоенной Германии американцы не боялись, как не боятся её усиления сейчас, потому что в 1949 году, прежде чем окончательно сформировалась ФРГ, которой разрешили иметь Бундесвер, Германию по рукам и ногам связали соглашениями с США и другими странами НАТО. Бывший начальник военной контрразведки Бундесвера генерал Камоса опубликовал книгу "Секретные игры тайных служб", где прямо пишет, что согласно послевоенным германо-американским соглашениям каждый новый канцлер Германии, приходящий к управлению страной, должен сразу после выборов приехать в США и подписаться под документом под названием "Канцлер-акт". Срок окончания "Канцлер-акта" -- 2099 год.

Процитирую вам выдержку из "Секретных игр тайных служб":

"21 мая 1949 года Федеральная разведка опубликовала под грифом "Совершенно секретно" тайный государственный договор, в котором были изложены основные принципы подходов победителей к суверенитету Федеральной республики до 2099 года "

Останется ли к этому времени немец немцем? Останется ли к этому времени Бундесвер способным воевать так, как он воевал во Второй Мировой войне? Каково вообще конечное назначение "Канцлер-акта"? Вот какие вопросы возникают при чтении этой книги.

Кстати, генерал Камоса был очень осторожен, поэтому не осмелился издать "Секретные игры тайных служб" в Германии, а вынужден был выпустить книгу в Австрии. Был небольшой шум. Наши корреспонденты, которые прочитали "Секретные игры тайных служб" в Австрии, опубликовали маленькую заметку: отдаёт ли себе отчёт генерал Камоса какую "бомбу" он выдал? Вместе с тем они задались вопросом: а что подписали в 1991 году наши руководители? Политический обозреватель "Независимой газеты" Фаенко полгода назад в одной из своих статей выложил свою "бомбу" Он пишет, что в США очень многие видные политические деятели и крупные бизнесмены недовольны тем, что Россия не придерживается негласных соглашений, которые были подписаны её руководителями.

-- Была ли, на Ваш взгляд, у СССР вообще хоть когда-нибудь пусть теоретическая возможность стать полноценным партнёром США? Ну, хотя бы на пике советско-американского сотрудничества во Второй Мировой войне.

-- Нет, потому что вина за то, что немцы в 1941 году напали на СССР, в том числе лежит и на США. Об этом почему-то сейчас не вспоминают, но ведь в 1940-м году советник английского премьер-министра Черчилля -- Монтгомери Хайд, который помогал Уильяму Доновану (один из руководителей американских спецслужб -- авт.) создавать Управление стратегических служб, передал ему для вручения президенту США Рузвельту письмо Черчилля, где тот писал: поскольку США не находятся в состоянии войны с Германией, то не могли бы вы побудить Гитлера оставить в покое Балканы и ускорить мероприятия в отношении России. С той поры прошло уже много лет и многим на Западе кажется, что про это письмо все забыли. Но забыть можно лишь тогда, когда ты не хочешь помнить о чём-то.

Сегодня никто не вспоминает так же, что на самом деле подготовка ко Второй Мировой войне началась в 1929 году со встречи американского президента Герберта Гувера с виднейшими предпринимателями США из центра Рассела; есть у них такое тайное общество. Оно заявило Гуверу:

"Приближается кризис, попытаться избежать трудного положения, в котором могут оказаться США, можно лишь изменив расстановку сил в мире. Для этого надо оказать помощь России, чтобы она окончательно избавилась от разрухи -- последствий гражданской войны, и помочь Германии избавиться от тисков Версальского договора". "Но на это нужны деньги, -- возразил Гувер, -- несколько миллиардов. Да и для чего нам это нужно, что будет потом?". "А потом надо столкнуть Россию и Германию лбами для того, чтобы, воспрянув после кризиса, США оказались только один на один с оставшимся из этих противников".

Такие деньги в результате были выделены. И те же самые американские концерны, которые помогали России восстанавливать хозяйство -- строили заводы, участвовали в создании Днепрогэса -- восстанавливали и оснащали Германию. Не зря же дед президента США Буша -- Прескотт Буш, который в 1930-е годы помогал немцам, сразу после начала войны был лишён права управлять своим имуществом, исходя из того, что США в данный момент находятся в состоянии войны с Германией. Всё это документально зафиксировано, в том числе и в пятитомнике американского экономиста и историка Энтони Саттона. А что было после войны известно: американцы на протяжении всего 20 века вели очень серьёзную, продуманную работу по уничтожению оставшегося у них одного сильного противника в лице СССР.

Кстати, наглядно принцип выборочной памяти в отношении истории демонстрировал сегодня, например, Сванидзе в своей передаче "Суд времени", где регулярно нарочно умалчивает о важных фактах, ну, а если собеседник ему о них напоминает, то он его быстро обрывает. Смотреть эту передачу, конечно, было противно, но интересно, потому что она показывает глубину работы американцев по осуществлению операции влияния на противную сторону. В Америке же разработана очень интересная система влияния на большие людские массивы, для того, чтобы убедить их принять американскую точку зрения по тому или иному поводу.

-- С 1979 по 1991 год Вы возглавляли Управление нелегальной разведки КГБ СССР, поэтому наверняка лучше всех знаете, каковы, кроме чисто гуманитарного навязывания американского взгляда на прошлое и настоящее той или иной страны, ещё цели деятельности "системы влияния на большие людские массивы"?

-- Например, чтобы получить во взаимоотношениях с тем или иным государством какое-либо дипломатическое преимущество. Именно поэтому политическая линия США по разрушению внутреннего спокойного содержания той или иной страны глубоко продумана, а не локальна и спонтанна, как иногда кажется. Для этого во многих странах создаются прослойки людей, распространяющих те идеи, которые им диктуют на Западе, чтобы облегчить ему овладение конкретной территорией. Ведь ещё Сунь Цзы говорил, что лучше покорить страну, не сражаясь. США, начав серьезно изучать нас в 1917-м году, больше никогда не оставляли вне поля своего зрения, занимались не просто аналитической или научной работой, а вели и очень серьёзную разведывательную деятельность.

Кстати, интересный факт. После взрыва башен-близнецов в Нью-Йорке американцы провели большую работу по изучению опыта борьбы советской власти с басмачеством. Между прочим, и развитие терроризма в странах Ближнего Востока, Юго-Восточной Азии, и на нашей территории -- явление отнюдь не случайное. Если внимательно посмотреть, кто учился в специальных школах на территории США и Великобритании, то становится понятно, что именно там готовили моджахедов и ваххабитов, скажем, для подрывной деятельности в Уфе или на Северном Кавказе.

А то, что происходило в Татарстане в районе Зеленодольска -- было, видимо, подготовлено англичанами, я имею в виду волнения среди мусульман, спровоцированные ваххабитами, которых, к счастью, сами татары быстро подавили; люди, организовавшие эти волнения, ведь ездили на подготовку в Англию, и очень много было таких людей. Или взять сложности, которые сейчас переживает Башкирия. Они тоже имеют западные корни. И удивляться тут нечему, потому что американцы создали специальное учреждение -- Объединённый университет по подготовке лидеров антитеррористических организаций, под эгидой которого и готовятся кадры для организации волнений в различных регионах мира, а не только для реальной борьбы с террором.

Тут надо ещё сказать вот что Запад использует территорию Афганистана и территории наших Среднеазиатских республик для проникновения &