We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Russia’s Weakness Is Its Economic Policy — Paul Craig Roberts and Michael Hudson

Click here to access an article written by two well informed people on economic issues.

My only criticism of their views is that I don't think that the post Soviet Union's rulers were naive. On the contrary, they were sociopaths who were excited about all the opportunities that the collapse of the bureaucratic socialist regime provided them. In the confusion of the collapse they went to work to enrich themselves by selling off at bargain prices most of the publicly owned industries to themselves, their friends, and institutions regardless of who these individuals and institutions were and whose interests they ultimately served. (Read Sale of the Century by Chrystia Freeland.) 

And it seems clear from the observations of these two distinguished authors that the same sociopaths still hold key positions in the Russian government and are acting against Russian interests. President Putin, on the other hand, is a nationalist who has awakened to the threat that the Empire's neoliberal weapon poses for the independence of Russia. It was only when his independence-oriented government took over that Russia became an enemy to the Empire. Of course, this is true of any government that tries to pursue policies of independence separate from those of the hegemonic US-led Empire.
Apparently, Russia’s neoliberals are insensitive to the threat that Washington and its European vassals pose to the Russian state. On the basis of lies Washington has imposed economic sanctions on Russia. This political demonization is as fictitious as is the neoliberal economic propaganda.  On the basis of such lies, Washington is building up military forces and missile bases on Russia’s borders and in Russian waters.  Washington seeks to overthrow former Russian or Soviet provinces and install regimes hostile to Russia, as in Ukraine and Georgia.  Russia is continually demonized by Washington and NATO.  Washington even politicized the Olympic games and prevented the participation of many Russian athletes.

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