ECONOMICS TRUMPS POLITICS AND HUMAN RIGHTS

Great Britain and Germany both refuse to isolate Russia or to boycott her exports: Germany needs her gas and oil, and German companies have invested 22 billion in Russia; and England wants her cash for its financial markets. Putin sees this economic opening and, utilizing it, is now pushing for a referendum in Crimea in 10 days’ time with which to cement his grip on power there and, with Russian troops still in Crimea, to continue pressuring the Ukrainians to abandon their drive for closer ties with the EU and US. Despite Kerry’s refusal to believe it, this is indeed a zero-sum game.

Interestingly, perhaps now the NSA’s interception of the German Chancellor’s phone calls, and the monitoring of Russia’s, wasn’t such a bad idea after all. Certainly Snowden’s aiding Russia by disclosing the reach of the NSA has made the world, as we have seen in the Crimea, a much less safer place now than before. And Snowden’s new friends (Russia and China) have revealed themselves to be far less concerned about human rights than the country which he forsook, indeed, to be eminently authoritarian and militaristic, with no respect for human rights. (China seized Tibet and committed, and still commits, grave human rights violations there; and both China and Russia freely commit abuses daily against ethnic minorities and political opponents.) The only country able to stand up to them, the US, Snowden has irrevocably weakened, making the world after his disclosures a much more dangerous place indeed. Edward’s vainglory and hubris blinded him as to who the real enemies are. Does he really believe that the US is a greater threat to world peace than either China or Russia? Edward forgot something very elementary about life: without prudence, one finds “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Again we see in world history how economics trumps politics: what ought to be done by the EU isn’t being done; and as a result Putin knows there is a breach in the wall of diplomatic sanctions for him to escape through. What might have forced him to withdraw due to the unyielding unanimity of the EU, he can now more safely afford to ignore given the disunity within EU’s ranks, and hence the lower level of sanctions threatened. The West has lost this crucial battle with a dictator who is no respecter of nations or of laws; and that will only embolden him further, and give sustenance to China’s hegemonic desires as well.

The world thinks in enlightenment terms; that is, that man’s sinfulness is an outmoded concept, a leftover of a bygone theological era; that one need only tie countries closer together economically, and eternal peace and prosperity must and will be the inevitable result. No: a leopard can wear a Brooks Brothers suit, but underneath, like it or not, it remains a leopard still. Russia has (and has always had) an authoritarian leader.  To appease such usually ushers in greater trouble later. Putin wants the power of the former Soviet Union redivivus. Great Britain and Germany have unwittingly aided him in his power quest, and in the process sacrificed the territorial integrity of The Ukraine—and shown Putin all too clearly that, so far at least, he has nothing to fear from the EU, which up till now has shown itself to be a weak and vacillatory body with no stomach for confrontation when and where it counts.

 Len Sive Jr.

RUSSIA: SAME COUNTRY, CZARIST, COMMUNIST, OR “DEMOCRACY”

If  there had been any doubt—and I for one had never bought the idea that the Cold War was over—that doubt has been brutally confirmed. A tiger does not give up its stripes just on its (cunning) say so. Russia has never in its history been different from what it is today (save for that brief period in the early ‘90’s when Communism lay in tatters) :  a cold, anti-democratic, anti-free speech, anti-human rights dictatorship. (Putin’s symbolic democracy is just that. There is only one authority allowed in Russia, and that’s Putin’s iron fist.)

What to do now? Russia should be kicked out of its place with the EU and US. Trade agreements should be nullified. But more than that The West has few non-military options, and sending in troops is not an option.

Russia’s main source of income is its natural gas pipeline to Europe. Here again we see how the oil industry fuels wars.  They have bought off so many politicians that trying to develop non-oil/gas alternatives has largely failed, which failure has then led us into war after war in the Middle East, and renders any economic sanctions against Russia unimportant.

China is in the same position as Russia is. Thanks to Corporate Capitalism China has reached a position where it will assert its dominance in the region more and more. When business people make foreign policy rather than experts, so that profit and not prudence rules the agenda, then we see what happens, now in the Ukraine, or the Middle East, or in Asia.

The world experiences this over and over again. Journalists like Anthony Summers have exposed how capitalists like JP Morgan and Rockefeller put Lenin in power; and Henry Ford built for Stalin his first automated (car) factory.  (McCarthy and his thugs graciously ignored these and other facts of Communist/capitalist collusion when they began their anti-Communist witch hunts. As always, the rich and powerful, who create these international crises, escape intact.)

We saw the same Corporate collusion with the Nazis, both in the years leading up to WWII, and infamously even during it (Roosevelt was incensed, but even his hands were tied due to their wealth and power), and ignobly after the war. The grandfather of President Bush was a party to all this as well, in cooperation with the OSS, the fore-runner of the CIA, which absorbed thousands of SS Nazis.

When you have the rich rule, whose interests do we believe they will serve?—the poor? the sick? the elderly? the powerless?

When the rich, vested interests rule, misrule, corruption, and war are the inevitable results.

Len Sive Jr.