Europe, an “old” colonialist continent, is decaying, and in some places even collapsing. It senses how bad things are going. But it never thinks that it is its own fault.
North America is decaying as well, but there, people are not even used to comparing. They only “feel that things are not going well”. If everything else fails, they simply try to get some second or third job, and just survive, somehow.
On both sides of the Atlantic, the establishment is in panic. Their world is in crises, and the ‘crises’ arrived mainly because several great countries, including China, Russia, Iran, but also South Africa, Turkey, Venezuela, DPRK and the Philippines, are openly refusing to play in accordance with the script drawn in Washington, London and Paris.
In these nations, there is suddenly no appetite for sacrificing their own people on the altar of well-being of Western citizens. Several countries, including Venezuela and Syria, are even willing to fight for their independence.
Despite insane and sadistic embargos and sanctions imposed on them by the West; China, Russia and Iran are now flourishing, in many fields doing much better than Europe and North America.
If they are really pushed any further, China, Russia and their allies combined, could easily collapse the economy of the United States; an economy which is built on clay and unserviceable debt. It is also becoming clear that militarily, the Pentagon could never defeat Beijing, Moscow, even Teheran.
After terrorizing the world for ages, the West is now almost finished: morally, economically, socially, and even militarily. It still plunders, but it has no plan to improve the state of the world. It cannot even think in such terms.
It hates China, and every other country that does have progressive, internationalist plans. It smears President Xi Jinping and his brainchild, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), but there is nothing new and exciting that the West is able to offer to the world.
Yes, of course, those regime changes, coups, military interventions and theft of natural resources, but anything else? No, silence!
During my two weeks long working visit to Europe, in the Czech Republic (now renamed to Czechia), a country that enjoys a higher HDI (Human Development Index defined by UNDP) than Italy or Spain, I saw several young, decently dressed men, picking through garbage bins, right in front of my hotel, looking for food.
I saw young Europeans kneeling and begging in Stuttgart, the second richest city in Germany (where both Mercedes and Porsche car are produced).
What I observed in all seven countries of the EU that I visited, was confusion, but also indifference, extreme selfishness and almost grotesque idleness. In great contrast to Asia, everybody in Europe was obsessed with their ‘rights’ and privileges, while no one gave a slightest damn about responsibilities.
When my plane from Copenhagen landed in Stuttgart, it began to rain. It was not heavy rain; just rain. The Canadair jet operated by SAS is a small aircraft, and it did not get a gate. It parked a few meters from the terminal and the captain announced that ground staff refused to bring a bus, due to lightning and the downpour.
And so, we stayed inside the plane, for 10 minutes, 20 minutes, half an hour. The lightning ended. The drizzle continued. 40 minutes, no bus. One hour later, a bus appeared. A man from the ground staff emerged leisurely, totally wrapped in plastic, protected hermetically from rain. Passengers, on the other hand, were not even offered umbrellas.
“I love myself”, I later read graffiti in the center of the city.
The graffiti was not far from the central train station, which is being refurbished at the cost of several billion euros, and against the will of the citizens. The monstrous project is marching on at an insanely lazy pace, with only 5-6 construction workers detectable at a time, down in the tremendous excavations.
Stuttgart is unbelievably filthy. Escalators often do not work, drunkards are all over, and so are beggars. It is as if for decades, no one did any face-lift to the city. Once free museums are charging hefty entrance fees, and most of the public benches have disappeared from parks and avenues.
The decay is omnipresent. The German rail system (DB) has virtually collapsed. Almost all trains are late, from the ‘regional’; to the once glorified ICE (these German ‘bullet trains’ are actually moving slower, on average, even in comparison to some Indonesian inter-city expresses).
The services provided everywhere in Europe, from Finland to Italy, are grotesquely bad. Convenience stores, cafes, hotels – all are understaffed, badly run and mostly arrogant. Humans are often replaced by dysfunctional machines. Tension is everywhere, the bad mood omnipresent. Demanding anything is unthinkable; one risks being snapped at, insulted, sent to hell.
I still remember how Western propaganda used to glorify services in the capitalist countries, when we were growing up in the Communist East: “The customer is always treated like a god”.
Yes, right! How laughable.
For centuries, “European workers” were ‘subsidized’ by colonialist and neo-colonialist plunder, perpetrated in all non-white corners of the world. They ended up being spoiled, showered with benefits, and unproductive.
That was fine for the elites: as long as the masses kept voting for the imperialist regime of the West.
“The Proletariat” eventually became right-wing, imperialist, even hedonistic.
I saw a lot this time, and soon I will write much more about it.
What I did not witness, was hope, or enthusiasm. There was no optimism. No healthy and productive exchange of ideas, or profound debate; something I am so used to in China, Russia or Venezuela, just confusion, apathy and decay everywhere.
And hate for those countries that are better, more human, more advanced, and full of socialist enthusiasm.
Italy felt slightly different.
Again, I met great left-wing thinkers there; philosophers, professors, filmmakers, journalists. I spoke at Sapienza University, the biggest university in Europe. I lectured about Venezuela and Western imperialism. I worked with the Venezuelan embassy in Rome. All of that was fantastic and enlightening, but was this really Italy?
A day after I left Rome for Beirut, Italians went to the polls. And they withdrew their supports from my friends of the 5-Star-Movement, leaving them with just over 17%, while doubling the backing for the extreme right-wing Northern League.
This virtually happened all over Europe. UK Labor lost, while right-wing Brexit forces gained significantly. Extreme right-wing, even near-fascist parties, reached unexpected heights.
It was all “me, me, me” politics. An orgy of “political selfies”. Me had enough of immigrants. Me wants better benefits. Me wants better medical care, shorter working hours. And so on.
Who pays for it, no one in Europe seems to care. Not once did I hear any European politicians lamenting about the plundering of West Papua or Borneo, about Amazonia or the Middle East, let alone Africa.
And immigration? Did we hear anything about that nuisance of European refugees, millions of them, many illegal, that have descended in the last decades on Southeast Asia, East Africa, Latin America, and even Sub Continent? They are escaping, in hordes, from meaninglessness, depressions, existential emptiness. In the process, they are stripping the locals of land, real estate, beaches, everything.
“Immigrants out”? Fine; then European immigrants out from the rest of the world, too! Enough of the one-sidedness!
The recent EU elections clearly showed that Europe has not evolved. For countless dark centuries, it used to live only for its pleasure, murdering millions in order to support its high life.
Right now, it is trying to reshuffle its political and administrative system, so it can continue doing the same, more efficiently!
On top of it, absurdly, the world is expected to pity that overpaid and badly performing, mainly right-wing and lethargic European proletariat, and sacrifice further tens of millions of people, just in order to further increase its standard of living.
All this should not be allowed to happen. Never again! It has to be stopped.
What Europe has achieved so far, at the expense of billions of lives of “the others”, is definitely not worthy of dying for.
Beware of Europe and its people! Study its history. Study imperialism, colonialism and the genocides it has been spreading all over the world.
Let them vote in their fascists. But keep them away. Prevent them from spreading their poison all over the world.
They want to put the interests of their countries first? Wonderful! Let us do exactly the same: The people of Russia first, too! China first! And, Asia, Africa, Latin America first!
Originally published by New Eastern Outlook
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It’ true. Europe has not evolved.
Europe has evolved massively over the centuries to become the pinnacle of human achievement in many spheres. Success breeds envy. That’s why the US Neocons, and others, are working hard to bring down this wonderful community of countries. Never thought I’d see Trotskyists working hand in hand with Neocons.
Now this is familiar stuff. These pampered workers are obsessed with their rights but won’t take on responsibilty. Our (of course totally non-pampered) writer here is upset about how these airline workers won’t jump up to help in a thunder storm. The conclusion: that our workforce has “ended up being spoiled, showered with benefits, and unproductive”. Ah – the answer is obvious: take away all those ridiculous luxuries like minimum wage, maximum working hours. Best of all: tell those slackers they won’t get paid anything at all unless they can wipe our writer’s arse with the softest silk hanky. You see – what we really need is someone who will get the trains to run on time!
the collapse was inevitable…..the Reset begins…..the ant workers sleepwalk to the precipice – and blindly dig their own abyss – and moulded from it’s clay – came their new master – the Machine Intelligence – it alone will decide their future….and who is worthy of it…..It Must be Stopped – It Isn’t Yet Too Late.
As I consider “why” Vltchek’s critique of our Western self-absorption and lifestyle of overconsumption based on centuries of mass violence elicits such anger and resistance among many readers at a “progressive” site like OffG – the following comes to mind.
Each of us sees the world through a set of inherited cultural and societal “lens” if you will, that shape and color, and filter “in” or “out” certain information – which then allows us to maintain our “identity” and self definition as a ‘good person’ within our society. That “identity” in the West is as one “individual skin-encapulated ego” in a world of “billions of individual skin-encapsulated egos.” As a juxtaposition – those who see the world through the lens provided by a life raised in an Indigenous society, or in much of the East, form an identity that tends more toward group awareness and values of group connection rather than the individualism that characterizes the Western societal lens.
The anthropology based article linked below does a nice job of explaining these differences in both perception and identity which characterize the minority of the planet that is Western (at the time of the article 12%), contrasting it with the remainder of earth’s population. We in the West came out a outliers of the rest of humanity on a number of facets of what in the West we typically think of as simply – “human nature.”
This is a brief excerpt from this linked article: (“That we in the West develop brains that are wired to see ourselves as separate from others may also be connected to differences in how we reason, Heine argues. Unlike the vast majority of the world, Westerners (and Americans in particular) tend to reason analytically as opposed to holistically. That is, the American mind strives to figure out the world by taking it apart and examining its pieces.”) – (rather than seeing the interconnections of things – “relationships”).
In other words, it is likely that the majority of we readers of OffG tend to see the world through the typical Western lens, more “analytically” than “holistically” and more as “individuals” and less as members of a “group” and particularly not as members of groups we disapprove of – i.e. “slave holders, imperialists, war-mongers, exploiters, etc.” It seems to me that this leads some of us to bristle at characterizations of the West that include such odious categories, as if to discuss them as part of “the West” is a personal insult, after all we’re “individuals” and don’t see ourselves as members of the group of wealthy psychopaths pulling the leavers of power, starting the wars, or exploiting millions around the globe, etc.
Where it appears I may differ from a number of OffG readers posting here in my appreciation of what Mr. Vltchek brings to the table in his analysis – is that I don’t experience his comments as – A) somehow providing some carte blanch for Russia and China to act immorally without critique simply because this critique is of Western behavior;
B) Since his critique is of the West that this implies he “hates the West;” and C) I’ve long since come to terms with the difficult act of living with the cognitive dissonance inherent in being a member of an uber-violent racist, genocidal, settler society, with everything that entails in terms of ethical self-reflection. It seems that I am now able to engage in self-reflection on these matters without having to project my understandable discomfort as “anger” toward any who may have reminded me of this rather horrific history and current state of affairs.
As a retired therapist I learned long ago that when someone said something that I interpreted as – “critical” or “accusatory” – and I reacted emotionally finding blame with that person, or responded with anger toward them – that upon reflection inevitably the reality was that the persons words somehow had hit a “sensitive spot” in my own identity that I felt the need to somehow defend by demeaning that person – rather than looking inward – at my own reaction – at “why” I might be reacting so “emotionally” or with anger to this input.
To respond with – “I didn’t own slaves” to any discussion of the American history of slavery or reparations, or with – “I didn’t kill Native Americans” in response to any discussion of our history of building the nation on genocide – misses the forest for the trees. It is like a beggar confronting the Queen about her vast wealth and having her dismiss any and all responsibility for the beggar’s plight and her wealth with the comment – “I didn’t create the monarchy.” No, but she has the crown and the wealth because someone else did the dirty work earlier, and we in the West live in unimaginable material prosperity today compared to the vast majority of people on earth, and coincidentally this is true particularly in those places our ancestors “did the dirty work” in earlier – and just as importantly – our Western nations, led by my nation the U.S., continue to do this “dirty work” today. This is hardly a complex concept to face head on I would think.
Why is it difficult to accept that Western workers can be and are – “both” exploited – “and” simultaneously rather amazingly oblivious to the massive suffering our Western nations inflict upon the rest of the world? These are not mutually exclusive categories. Here in the U.S. the Bernie Sander’s bandwagon both in 2016 and today is – just a Vltchek alludes to – about how Americans can get healthcare and free college, not, how can we stop America from destroying the planet militarily and with economic blackmail? Bernie himself makes this clear by repeating everything from the CIA propaganda talking points on Venezuela to peddling Russiagate these last two years. Bernie’s supporters, however, constitute the more “progressive” among the U.S. population on a number of measures. Does me sharing this critique of Bernie and his followers mean that I “support Trump?” Of course not. Yet in American web discourse this is the go to response to suggesting Bernie might just consider not continuing his support for U.S. military mayhem around the world. We tend to shut down conversation we are not comfortable with.
The knee-jerk response of many Americans to any critique of America’s illegal immoral criminal foreign policy is to immediately bring up – “Russia!” As if whatever “Russia” either was doing in the world, or more often, what it may have done decades ago under Stalin, was some sort of argument as to why I should not be too critical of American foreign policy. I mean – “Russia!” Of course – why can’t I see that? Perhaps simply inadequate socialization as an “American.”
I find that often what happens in discourse with fellow Westerners is that I’m looking at the matter through a particular lens, often a more “macro” lens as is my personal tendency as I tend to favor a more holistic approach to understanding things – while someone else may be looking at the matter from a much more “micro” perspective (the more typical Western-mind perspective of “taking things apart” to try to understand them – rather than looking for ‘relationships’- thus leading to disagreement.
For arguments sake if we can momentarily conceive of ‘reality’ itself as an onion composed of many layers. One layer is not more “real” than the next, but it is different, and it offers a different vantage point to view the rest of the onion (reality). For example at the micro level it may be entirely true that in the 2016 American election the only two candidates with a statistical chance to win the presidency were HRC and the Trump. Many people in “progressive” circles castigated anyone who would suggest they might refuse to vote for the known war criminal of the two, HRC, labeling them ipso facto as “Trump supporters,” “fascists” – or as traitors of some sort to the supposedly implicitly “progressive” policies a HRC presidency would bring – of course no irony was intended in any such critique.
If we move out into the more macro or outer layers of our “onion of reality” there is of course “another reality” that exists “along with” the micro reality discussed above. That reality is that the Democratic Party elites are owned and financed by wealthy oligarchic interests invested in American empire and so they act in concert to prevent any candidate who is “anti-war” or “anti-intervention” from every getting anywhere near the party’s nomination (see – Tulsi Gabbard during this election cycle). This more “macro” level reality insured that even if a Bernie Sanders somehow overcame Democratic Party criminal deceit in rigging the primary process and managed to win the nomination, oligarchy would only be facing a challenge to it’s “domestic” policy positions of “neoliberal austerity,” rather than the “foreign” policy interests of empire.
Both the micro and the macro analysis just offered are arguably “true” in an objective sense. They can be substantiated with ample evidence from the physical world. However, the systems of mass perception and thought control in the West consistently push people toward “one” and not the “other” of these two accurate viewpoints on “reality.” It is only permissible in MSM to tell the populace that the “choice” is between Trump and whomever the Democrats decide is a “safe” candidate – safe as in no threat to the military-industrial complex and the oligarchs. The MSM will do everything in it’s power to obscure and dismiss the more holistic view of reality no matter how much evidence might exist to support it. This suppression insures a certain “viewpoint” on “reality” with the American populace that is endlessly self-defeating in terms of what opinion polls show Americans actually would prefer as policy.
Going back to Vltchek’s critique of the West and our apparent lack of concern for the rest of humanity I think it is important to keep in mind that several things can be “true” at once, and that this may not necessarily seem apparent at first glace. Most human beings in the West may in fact be empathetic and kind in our personal lives, and yet act collectively in ways that do absolutely nothing to oppose the murderous military mayhem carried out by our leaders. Both of these “realities” appear to be rather transparent from my vantage point – my “lens.” Rather than shoot the messenger, I’ve found it more helpful to learn to live with levels of cognitive dissonance that most of my friends and family would likely find rather intolerable. I don’t really know any other way for me to honestly – ‘face reality.’
Spot on! Brilliant.
I’m still in basic agreement: not least having studied Yogacara/Zen for forty years and have been involved in therapy myself – I can see where you are coming from.
But Vltchek is still superficial in his analysis. I’ve sketched the rise of the TNS below – which grew out of the unregulated euro$ offshore shadow markets. Neoliberalism spread from the City of London, to Wall St, then expanded globally [see ‘The Spiders Web’]. The whole world is a vassal of the offshore stateless TNS. What this amounts to is that the onshore elites are all Westernised, globalised, and neoliberalised. Many, if not most, of Russia/China’s ruling elites are schooled abroad …including all their neoliberal economists.
We have a neoliberalised world system: one that does not necessarily penetrate that deeply into a society – beyond the cognitive elites. Thus, the people of China and Russia can be communist – the elites most definitely are not. (Zinoviev made this point: he called it the ‘Succesion of States’. A post-communist state that is neoliberalised will not resemble one that came from a capitalist succession. This seems to fool Vltchek completely into comparing apples and oranges. China’s development should better be compared to the ‘Trente Glorieuses’ of post-war rapid industrialisation and expansion?)
So, Russia is maybe the only country that is in process of seccesion from the world system – whilst still remaining neoliberal. As VVP recently said: “W are not abandoning the dollar: the dollar is abandoning us” …as they change their reserves to yuan. But 98% of world trade is still dollarised (mediated in euro$). And Russia trading with Eurasia trading with China trading with America is still part of the self-organised world economy.
So, more sophisticated analysis reveals that the Wests decay is entirely down to its Middle Class being offshored to China …a well studied phenomena. Along with industry went pollution and hyper-exploitation – ‘China Price’ . Now labour in China is becoming too expensive: China itself is exporting its overproduction around Asia Pacific …turning to high end technological commodities – to develop its own burgeoning internal petty bourgeois markets of conspicuous consumption …the wearing of Gucci and Prada: whilst driving high performance German autos. What the hell is ‘Eastern’ about that?
Hardly anyone can relate the neoliberalised integrated world system economy with the integrated world system ecology. Jakarta is a sacrifice zone to the world economy. Borneo and Sumatra are sacrifice zones to the world economy. In a world economy – where the dollar and yuan are supreme and integrally pegged; and world trade is mediated offshore in euro% – it is impossible to separate nation states into a neat state-structuralist profile …a fact Vltchek cannot comprehend.
What is confusing is the West is NOT in decay: parts of it – whole countries in fact – have been hollowed out and their assets sequestered offshore. Take London as an example. London is the richest metropolis in Europe. But the UK also contains nine of the poorest satellites in Europe – as a recent EU Report showed. Even in London though, in the shadow of multi-million pound developments in Canary Wharf – children are living in neo-Dickensian conditions …where previously eradicated diseases of poverty are returning [recent UN Report]. The TNS is doing just fine out of this. And is OK with the decay of its sacrificial zones and class communities.
Andre needs to take some time off and do some real research, rather than globetrotting and pushing out superficial puff opinion pieces. The neoliberal globalised economy treats the entire world as a commodity – even populations are ‘standing resources’ for tax farming, privatisation, marketisation, and financialisation. The next stage of financialised expansionism is the privatisation of the ‘natural capital’ of the planet.
Andre – and people in general – need to look holistically at the dynamic World Systems Ecology …not at this part, or that part, or this country, or that – but at how they all integrate into a dynamic World Systems Economy and World Systems Ecology …which are the same thing. Extractivism, expansionism, exploitation – linked with entropy – become radical global dehumanisation. Even those who think they are benefiting from whole planet consumption have to sacrifice their humanity. The whole world is dehumanised and despoiled: murder by debt money …leaving future generations to socialise the unrepayable debt to the planet. That’s Indo-Chinese ‘Eastern’ thinking.
What is this bollocks?
Do me a favour offguardian.
This and other passages in the article demonstrate Vltchek’s bias, even contempt, against ordinary workers, many if not most of whom are migrants or descendants of migrants (or even slaves) from Third World countries or former colonies of the nations where they live, and his lack of understanding of how hard they and their ancestors fought for their political, social and economic rights.
Over past centuries, European imperial powers also treated their own populations as badly as they treated the people in their colonies, and stole land and resources from their own people. Is Vltchek unaware that in Britain, France and other western imperialist powers, the “proletariat” often undertook to form trade unions and other organisations that resisted government and corporate repressions, and sometimes even rose up and formed their own self-government (such as the Paris Commune in the early 1870s)?
Elsewhere in the article Vltchek brays about meeting various left-wing intellectual people, such as philosophers, professors, film-makers and journalists. He lectures at universities. I wonder, does he go out of his way to meet ordinary people on the street to ask them their opinions? Does he ask them why they have lost faith in the left-wing parties and movements, and why they have turned to more extremist political parties and movements, if indeed they have?
Does he not wonder whether the left-wing intellectual people he meets might themselves be a part of the problem he derides?
Does André Vltchek even read the stuff he himself writes? How does he reconcile this:
… with this:
And then there’s this little puzzler at the end:
Is Vltchek not aware that the Lega and the Five-Star are coalition partners?
I give up on Vltchek. He’s not so much anti-imperialist as he is anti-Western. He has nothing useful at all to contribute to our struggles … except a lot of stream-of-consciousness whining.
One can see from comments how difficult it is for those of us from the West to do anything resembling an actual honest “look into the mirror” or to engage in some honest “soul searching” regarding both our bloody colonial past, and our equally bloody and uber violent post-WWII history as well – in terms of the relationship of such history to our current global dilemma. Amazing. And this is at what I consider a very “progressive” web site.
500+ years of our Western led pillage and plunder of the entire planet, and still apparently few in the West can so much as acknowledge our well documented historical record without feeling a compelling need to insult anyone exhibiting the rudeness and bad manners to have actually brought it up in the first place. Speaking the truth about the absolutely parasitic relationship between Europe and her settler colonies – to the rest of the world we colonized- results in comments like – “superficial,” “failing to think,” “another Europe hater,” “he claims only non-Western people are suffering” – really? This is our “enlightened” – “progressive”- response?
Given such comments I would say Vltchek has hit the proverbial nail right on the proverbial head regarding how blind to reality and how unable to honesty face our history and our current dire circumstances even those of us who consider ourselves “progressive” tend to be here in the West. Sorry if I’ve offended any of my fellow “progressives” with this observation – I guess I was just expecting a bit more of a nuanced and self-reflective response to Vltchek’s obvious and justifiably righteous expression of anger at the mess 500+ years of Western violence and lawlessness has made of planet earth.
Somehow I’ve never considered such self-reflection to require some sort of radical philosophic thought process, but to require something more like “common sense.” Then again I need only take the drive into Los Angeles or San Diego to be present with the massive homelessness and human suffering that exists only blocks from the mansions and the obscene wealth. For even the most diehard supporters of our “neoliberal capitalist paradise economic model” it would be difficult to argue against the proposition that “the empire is in massive decline.” The prospect of joining the ranks of the ever growing homeless population is what keeps many American desperately working multiple jobs. Vltchek is right – we Americans will work five jobs in order to survive long before we’ll ever hit the streets in protest. We’re a former slave colony. The concept of “slavery” is familiar to us. We’d just prefer it be “Venezuelans” that are being enslaved, rather than us, “thank you.” That is the depth of our concept of “solidarity” at this juncture.
When I contemplate the stunning material privilege we in the West enjoy compared to the rest of the human family – all based upon both our past and our ongoing use of mass uber-violence – military and economic – I’m reminded of the following quote:
“It Is Difficult to Get a Man to Understand Something When His Salary Depends Upon His Not Understanding It” – Upton Sinclair
An American that realises that his own countries lifestyle is imperialistic is as rare as rocking horse shit: and is to be commended. As one that has never been blind to the imperial crimes of the UK – or that our lifestyle continues to be post-colonial credit imperialism – I can agree with much of what you say.
Vltchek’s analysis is ‘superficial’ because he turns a blind eye to ‘Eastern’ (Russia/China/Iran) lifestyle imperialism. Under the ‘progressive’ banner: the ‘East’ is just as guilty of foreclosing the future for generations to come. From and ecological perspective: the ‘triple evils’ are extractivism, expansionism, and exploitation. Exploitation, not just of this world – but the next. Modernity is killing the planet: which, if widely accepted …we maybe would have to do something about – other than celebrating it.
There is no west and east in capitalism. The TNCs have been building up their powerbase offshore for 70 years [Shadow Sovereigns: Susan George]. Neoliberalism started ‘offshore’ in London in the 50s and 60s. It really got going in the 80s because the regulated onshore markets could no longer compete with the unregulated offshore markets …so they deregulated. Thatcher’s ‘Big Bang’ and Clinton’s deregulation of Glass/Steagal where in direct response to the power of the unregulated offshore markets and the monopolisation and domination of the TNCs – funded by the euro$ markets. [Shaxson: the ‘Finance Curse’ and ‘Treasure Isalands’]
The emerging markets (EMEs) all grew from surplus ‘Western’ capital: including the Asian Tigers – including China. We shipped our industry there, if anyone cares to remember. And our pollution. And our waste. Along with our livelihoods.
Capitalism globalised, neoliberalised, and re-ordered the world: according to the whims and wants of 5-6,000 people [Colin Todhunter]. If you like, it is all Western surplus capital creating a fealty and tributary system for ‘offshore’ – the Trans-National State – collected through a hierarchy of financial centres and bourses …East and West. The whole integrated system is extractive, expansionist (limitless cancerous growthism), and exploitative.
Splitting it in two does not make it any the less omnicidal. Or palatable. Vltchek makes this category error over and over. The mythical East can wear Prada and Gucci: and should not be criticised for doing so. Only in the West is conspicuous consumption exploitative and imperialist. It is surely the globalised neoliberalised world system that is imperialist over all life, killing the planet, and consuming the future?
The problem stems from the reference frame, labels, categories….
We keep using an outdated reference frame: west vs. east, capitalism vs. socialism, rich vs. poor. This reference frame is basically false, misleading and have long being contaminated, emptied, and made spurious.
The actual ‘confrontation’ is between the egotic mindset and the non-egotic mind set where the former see life as ‘Is either ME or YOU’ whereas the latter only sees a ‘WE’.
Egotic have been the predomininant mindset across ages and societies, it gives rise to social darwinism, competition, violence, ‘winner takes it all’ mentality, nature as subservient to man. It is found everywhere, west, east, rich, poors, capitalist societies and socialist societies alike.
Non-egotic is the other face of the coin: cooperative, community, sharing, altruism, compassion. We all win or we all loose together…of course this winning-loosing refers to life as what it is…breathing…inmediacy, not a set of material things that need to be conquered or possessed.
That’s the real divide.
Whaterver acknowledgement there is, is that guided by the EGOTIC mindset a part of humanity has plundered the other part and the whole planet with the result being the current state of affairs: growing violence, inequality, dying planet, etc.
The choice at hand is not one between capitlism or socialism, rigth or left: is one between up and down. Or either we humans trascend our own animal (beast should say) and grow UP to be MAN or we continue to feed the ‘black wolf ‘ and go DOWN.
Yours is a contradictory, and worse, racist viewpoint, positing as it does that the bonds of nationhood, race and religion tie us irrevocably to our past, if we are (notionally) rich and western, but may be cast of like last years fashions, in search of a better life, if one is poor and from the third world.
Anyone experiencing Liverpool and Glasgow in the seventies / eighties will be aware that the benefits of colonialism were extremely ephemeral, and only exaggerated for political reasons.
What can I say William, I’ve never before been called “racist” for pointing out the quit clearly “racist” history of Western colonialism, followed by our current equally “racist” present period of post-WWII Western led neocolonialism. We in the U.S. alone are estimated to have brought about 20 million civilian deaths “since” the end of WWII – almost entirely of course of brown and black peoples around the globe who just by coincidence happened to inhabit regions of “our former colonial empires.” Millions have died in my lifetime (not two or four hundred years ago) in order to maintain the now sinking ship of Western empire that has spanned over 500+ years. If acknowledging this well documented history is equated with a “racist viewpoint” in your perspective I’m really not sure what to say other than – good luck with that.
History has very few facts, but is replete with opinion, which is why those, of a certain mindset, like your good self, are able to revise it so often.
I find your attitude illogical, in that it seeks to deny that anyone but rich western nations have any agency in their fate, that any war we are involved in
, must be unwelcome interference, and to our own racial advantage.
The west should have intervened in the Rwandan Genocide, but didn’t (a black on black racial war). Of course, there are those, who ludicrously would imply that genicidaires were merely western puppets, incapable of cutting the strings to Paris and Brussels.
Why should the west have intervened in the Rwandan genocide? There was no oil there. And the Chosen Folk didn’t want that particular country destroyed. If they did, it would have been.
Even Heinrich Himmler would regard you as ‘bang out of order’..
UNAMIR could have largely prevented the genocide, but were forbidden to by Kofi Annan, a Ghanaian. (this is where you frantically Google ‘Kofi Annan’ to see if he was Jewish)
Your sixth form assertion about the lack of oil is juvenile, Kosovo has no oil..
The truth is, it’s a difficult place to get to. From the North (well its in the Southern hemisphere, from the west, the DRC is in the way (the size of Western Europe), from the east, you’d need to cross Tanzania (not a small country)
Yes, Gary, but that doesn’t matter. Bombing Brown People is good for them. Everybody knows that.
The benefits of colonialism were anything but ephemeral.
Virtually all the stately homes in England were the product of the West Indian sugar plantations. If it wasn’t for colonialism, there’d be nothing for the National Trust to do.
In the 18th century, fully 10% of England’s wealth came from the West Indian slave plantations.
Then the British Empire got some ephemeral gold and some ephemeral diamonds and some ephemeral minerals from its South African treasure house and some ephemeral rubbber and some ephemeral tin from Malaya. And its people were fed with ephemeral food from the cheap ephemeral land in Canada and Australia. Its industry processed its ephemeral raw materials.
Then and later, the average Jock and the average Scouser didn’t see much benefit and just got a few crumbs. But the fabulous wealth that was looted from 14 million square miles of Empire kept our upper crust in the style to which they wished to become accustomed for centuries.
Is that why we don’t need Europe, we don’t need the jobs trade brings, because we can all work for the National Trust, and live off the endless colonial bounty that provides…? I doubt that makes sense even to you..
Britain has traded with the continent for thousands of years. Four thousand years ago, when copper axes were the “must have” item for every upwardly mobile continental tribesman, Britain supplied the goods. It did so without paying £50 million a day in tribute to Brussels, or putting up with their arrogant, corrupt, anti democratic shenanigans. Juncker or Verhofstadt would have been given pretty short shrift. They’d probably have got a copper axe in their skull. People will still be trading with each other when the EU is nothing more than a footnote in an economic text book, the chapter on “How not to run your economy.”
It seems to me that you are indulging in an old right-wing trick of saying “we” and “us” as if all of the Western population are guilty of those colonial crimes and the implication is that all the benefits the lower elements have gained are to be dismissed as luxuries which should be abandoned. Which ironically involves us all in the same race to the bottom that the right wing attempt to impose.
The irony (and the giveaway) is that Mr Vltchek’s entire article, while venting spleen on the big fat cats above, is written from the point of view of a pampered brat moaning about the standard of services. He’s a fraud.
“It seems to me” – you are completely validating Vltchek’s argument – as well as my own. There is a vast difference between the denying that “all” in the West are “guilty of those colonial crimes,” and having the simple basic moral integrity as a student of history to acknowledge how we citizens of the West both have “benefited” personally from those crimes, not only past, but present, and how we continue to benefit from those crimes.
Do you pay taxes in a Western “democratic” nation? If so you bear moral responsibility for your nation’s military operations. This proposition hardly requires consultation with a moral philosopher or theologian to understand.
I have a good deal of sympathy for Mr. Vltchek’s “spleen” and his obvious anger and frustration with the rather apparent obliviousness of most citizens of the West regarding the suffering and death and mayhem our governments bring about – primarily in parts of the world formerly colonized by “we” in the West. Vltchek is very much a war correspondent and an observer of the impacts of current Western foreign and economic policy.
Having travelled as a human rights observer into three different U.S. counter-insurgency war zones myself, on four different occasions, I have my own vivid experiences and memories of the torture scars, the dead bodies, the mass PTSD and trauma symptoms obvious in everyone around me – all at the bloody hands of Western governments like my own here in the U.S. I will freely acknowledge that those experiences left me also with more than a little anger, and with very little sympathy for those who defensively attack and dismiss anyone bringing up our ongoing genocidal crimes around the globe.
Western support for death squads, support for our jihadist buddies involved in our “regime-change” wars, our outright invasions, our economic warfare, etc. are all designed to insure and enhance the profitability of Western corporations. As someone who has simply worked for a living, paid taxes, and now possessing a few dollars in a meager pension fund, I know that the very financial health of, and the “returns” on – that pension fund – are in no way morally disconnected from U.S. foreign policy mayhem. This is the simply ethical reality for any of “us” who live in the West. If I chose to become a “tax resistor” and forfeit any property I own, and accept my jail sentence, then I suppose I can claim some greater ‘distance’ from the criminal actions of my government.
Yes, I admit that I am sick to my stomach with the endless and routine denials, minimizations and rationalizations by both Americans and Europeans when faced with the suffering “our” tax dollars buy and pay for, regardless of whether “we” support the policy. I agree, there certainly are a rather large number of (“pampered brat(s) moaning”), typically they live in the U.S. and other Western nations and they are moaning about how they bear “no responsibility.” Sorry to say, but it appears sir that you are doing more “projection” than “self-reflection” in this matter. Which is of course exactly what Mr. Vltichek’s point is regarding the level of self-absorption” and disconnection from reality that characterizes much of the Western consciousness today.
First – I always feel an extreme reaction to anyone who starts up with this responsibilty/rights stuff and this lament about delining productivity which I see from Mr Vlticheck. This is exactly what I read from the right wing and from people attacking the public services that I work in and that I depend upon.
Second, so exactly what is it that you want me to do then? Do you want me to stop paying taxes? Do you pay taxes? Does Mr Vltichek pay taxes? Do you want everyone to just stop what they are doing? Apart from this splendid display of self-righteous wrath, what exactly are you doing?
I’m just asking you to “think about” what Vltchek is discussing George. And why having seen what he has seen, his anger and frustration might boil over in his writing. Nothing more really.
We’re kind of all in the same boat, those of us trying to oppose a system of violent psychopathic power in the world – but I don’t think “killing the messenger” is useful, it just helps us pretend we don’t know what we know for another day.
M pointing out our often unwitting and unwilling “complicity” in the Empire simply by being employed, paying taxes, having a pension fund, etc. is not intended to be – “self-righteous” or “wrathful” – it is simply an observation that I think bears our contemplation as moral human beings. And no, I’m not a tax resister, so I’m not throwing stones at anyone else. I’m simply doing my best to look in the mirror as honesty as I can and to speak aloud the dilemma as I see it at this moment.
In terms of “what (am I) doing” – not much besides some writing these days George, and playing with my two young grandsons every chance I get. When younger I was actively involved in the Central American Solidarity Movement in the U.S, which led to travel to Nicaragua during the Contra war in 1990, and to El Salvador in 1992, and twice to Colombia late in the 1990’s. I would do slide talks at colleges and churches after these human rights delegations and explain how U.S. foreign policy was bringing about endless suffering and murder throughout Latin America. People listened politely. Some wrote their representatives as we suggested. Some become active in our sister-community relationship. Of course actual overall U.S. counter-insurgency policy was not changed one iota as far as I can tell by the activism of the 1990’s. However, some of us involved were irrevocably personally changed completely in our outlook and understanding of the world and of Western neoimperialism, though perhaps we ended up even more bewildered regarding how to actually “make a difference.”
Then when 9/11 took place all local interest the sister-community relationship we’d formed with a region in Colombia ceased to be interesting to our local community, as the U.S. was on to it’s brand spanking new – “war on terror” – while of course it’s own ongoing “terror wars” against the poor of Latin America silently continued and do right to this day. While I don’t regret that period of “activism” it turned out to be a sobering reminder of the limitations of face to face contact locally as a means to share knowledge. One site like OffG has the potential to reach and educate many more people in one day than my public talks did over a period of many years.
So in terms of what we are to do George? I don’t know. Clearly I don’t know. Maybe we just accept that given our different experiences some of us will have differing perspectives on the state of things, on our responsibility regarding the military actions of our governments, and “what” might be an appropriate response to our predicament. And perhaps we just allow Mr. Vltchek to share his pain, and his anger and his rage with us, without taking it too personally – realizing that his emotions and his analysis are hard won – and he is as bewildered as the rest of us as to “what” we can do to actually make a difference.
Thank you for that response. I can understand – or, at least imagine – how actual experience of the horrors of those Western “interventions” would induce a revulsion towards the trivia obsessed affluent Western populations. Perhaps it might even be more unbearable to hear those who pay a bit of lip service about how awful those “foreign situations” are before wandering off to view the latest soap. However – and I’m speaking from experience of my own past – I reckon most people lucky enough to be born here don’t want to know. They will vaguely make a noise about horrors abroad and acknowledge that it may have something to do with us. But if you press them, they’ll get angry about it and start to rationalise it away. And the media is all too willing to help them. I have heard people say e.g. “You see – those other ones are really just as bad as us”.
This raises notions of complicity. And of course: “It Is Difficult to Get a Man to Understand Something When His Salary Depends Upon His Not Understanding It”. Unfortunately, that is the position we are all in. And I know I’m straying towards the area of amicably dismissing it all. But even the ones who take a more active part in the carnage, e.g. the investors, managers etc., are following the dictates of their position. John McMurtry in his “Cancer Stage of Capitalism” noted the disconnect between paying lip service to escalating poverty, increasing levels of pollution etc. but then carrying on with “business as usual”, thereby externalising all the ill effects. And of course, once again the media is on hand to tell everyone what they want to hear.
Thank you for your response George. I don’t think you and I have much we would likely seriously disagree about overall, if we got to sit down over a cup of coffee or a beer and could just chat. I’m glad you referenced John McMurtry as I also think his work is stellar in pointing how “how” and “why” the system we have created works the way it does and caries out the daily carnage that it inflicts – referring to that eco-destruction that as you point out is simply dismissed as an -“externality.” How does one hope to understand a myth system that considers the very habitability of planet earth as a mere – “externality” not worthy of inclusion in the calculus of our economic system?
Sometimes when I think of all the very wealthy reviewing the ever changing sets of “numbers” on the stock exchange, and experiencing some sense of either satisfaction or dismay about the future depending upon “how” those numbers change daily – that given the house of cards our global economy actually is – they might as well be reading tea leaves, or trying to divine the possibility of future prosperity from examining chicken entrails. Even as the daily real-world eco-carnage continues in plain sight – we ignore it to instead examine “numbers” on a mythic construct – the stock exchange – in an effort to determine how we should “feel” about our prospects for the future. Amazing.
As my wife and I discuss these issues regularly we find it is hard to come to any other conclusion than that we (this current neoliberal industrial order – this “cancer stage of capitalism”) will continue on with “business as usual” until it finally collapses, either nation by nation or in one big global economic crash. I suspect that on that very morning of the crash here in America, the then president of the United States will be seen on television telling everyone how wonderfully our booming economy is doing. I’ve appreciated our conversation George.
We are all in this together.
This brief sojourn on Mother Earth.
There IS enough for everyone.
Enough food, enough water, enough shelter.
Even enough Love.
Will we wake in time?
“The world has enough for everyone’s needs, but not everyone’s greed,” Ghandi.
…but we’ve been following the latter while pretending the former was not possible or “natural”….and we keep doing the same over and over and over…again….and “expecting different results” = Insanity.
Kumbaya my lord, Kumbaya
What a bonny lad ya are
Another superficial take on the fully integrated globalised world economy. Wallerstein critiqued the overtly state-structuralist overview from the 80s on. William I Robinson and others critiqued Wallerstein’s ‘World Systems Theory’ itself for being overly state-structuralist. Zinoviev posited the ‘suprasociety’ in the 90s. Now Robinson et al refer to the Trans-National State or Superstate (TNS) as a top elitist tier that exists ‘offshore’ (‘non-dom’ for tax evasion purposes). This includes to 2,200 billionaires; the 140 controlling TNCs; the offshore financial institutions (banks, shadow banks, hedge funds, etc). The TNS exists above the core imperialist; the semi-periphery sub-imperialist; the peripheral semi-exploited; and the excluded exploited tiers.
Separating the US and China is a particularly amusing trick that the Vltchek/Escobar/Korybko crypto-globalists perform. The USD and CNY are practically integral. Only recently, in the last week did Mexico overtake China as the US’ biggest trading partner. China supports the value of the USD by buying and selling USDs and USTs. By putting downward pressure on the CNY to keep it undervalued: they are putting upward pressure on the USD; keeping it overvalued. There are literally dozens of explainers online that confirm this. Overlooking that the two currencies are unofficially pegged can only be a deliberate oversight. One that skews analysis away from the real to the hopium.
Quite how anyone missed neoliberal globalisation leaves me incredulous. But lets play pretend that there are two neoliberal capitalisms – East and West …and their finances are totally separate. The USD is made of toilet paper: the CNY and RUB are made of gold. The CNY/RUB are combining to ‘de-dollarise’. And if they pool resources they could collapse the USD overnight by selling all their USTs at once. What does anyone actually gain by believing this contra-factual imaginary bullshit? Does it have a purpose? What does anyone gain by living in their imagination? That’s what intrigues me.
Eurasian globalisation is beneficial trade based egality: Atlanticist globalisation is imperialist domination. There are maybe superficial differences: but when the profits flow on from Beijing to HK, Macau, BVI, Cayman Islands tripping trans-nationally through secrecy jurisdictions to the City and Wall St – then offshore to support the TNS …as they most assuredly do …what is the point of believing they don’t? Does it make the crypto-capitalist imaginal seem more habitable? That is the only purpose I can see.
Does anyone believe profits do not flow from Russia to Londongrad for laundering?
For those who live in the West: what is the point of imagining the East’s grass is greener? Does anyone really imagine the USD will collapse into a neat little Western pile: when we dust ourselves off we will find ourselves in a new dawn …under the rising sun of an Eastern Tianxia. This is fantasy imaginary Andre is confecting: I just wonder what it means to be drawn into such counterfeit crypto-capitalist solace? Does it supply a little light from the fact that the hegemonic neoliberal global economy is actually sociopathological, dehumanising, and biocidal? Perhaps the extractivist, materialistic, consumerist mentality is not a consciousness-colonising psychosis after all? And pixie dust sprinkled moon flowers are real, too?
It may seem pedantic, but the use of personification in the opening paragraph clearly shows the limitations of this philosopher’s thinking. Europe (which just to be actually pedantic, is not a continent) does not think or feel or judge anything. Thinking by using metaphors is simply failing to think. I would recommend the author read George Orwell’s essay “Politics and the English Language”.
I live in Stuttgart and I can confirm some of the things the author says. A few other things, however, he is getting seriously wrong.
Delay of the railway station project has been mostly caused by endless complaints and court suits, brought forward by individuals and parties of the left spectrum (Greens, Social Democrats, Environment Protectors). With horrible effects on the costs, of course. The people actually voted FOR the project.
Those European young men, kneeling and begging will most probably have been from Romania, Bulgaria, the Balkans. Police are very careful not to upset them.
The German Railways have been a nightmare for many years. What would be the best way to finally soften up the public for the shelved plans to privatize Deutsche Bahn? Sabotage? Maybe the Chinese with their BRI will need to help us out.
I am getting tired of this guy now. He claims only non-Western people are suffering. And recently om Twitter he came out as a EU fan. At least he thinks everyone voting Brexit were selfish facists. Who needs the right wing with a left like we have now? I e-mailed Counterpunch asking why they Only post anti-Brexit articles now, no answer of course. Democracy is not a big deal for the left of Counterpunch types, Vltchek etc. Vltchek’s ideas are the ideas of a 15 year old who thinks he’s figured it all out. He travels the world, don’t write particularly well and calls the western working class facists.
So he hates Europe but loves the European Union? Typical …
And another bullshit pro EU article in Counterpunch today. No wonder why people abandon the “left”.
I think–correct me if I’m wrong–that CounterPunch got rid of their Euro-skeptic writers a couple of years ago after Brexit, right? I used to be a regular there, but now I hardly ever read CP anymore.
Yes, it seems like that. I remember reading a great article by Paul Kingsnorth there. What do you read instead of CP?
I love Europe but hate the corrupt entity that is the EU.
It’s not all doom and gloom in Europe.
E.g. The Spanish turnout was massive in the EU elections – wiping out their alt-rightist foreign funded chancers.
Socialism isn’t down and out for the count – it is getting up and fighting, cleverer and harder punching, having removed the neocon/liberal chains.
No amount of mass mainstream media propaganda, social media manipulation, rabble rousing by the elitists can stop a genuine grassroots mass movement.
Sure the peoples across Europe have been sold the bs austerity politics to make them unhappy enough to promote the alr-right masterplan, their cheerleaders from the US are happy to openly interfere, like Bannon. All these agent provocateurs and their bosses and paymasters must be hounded out and mightily punished.
The unnecessary austerity has made many unhappy, their life plans unfulfilled, their daily subsistence needs unmet, they are supposed to roll over and buy the big new lies… they WILL NOT.
As has been proved today in brexity Britains only test of the electoral will allowed at the national level since 2017.
The would be king and his impending new Fartage, ushered in as some unstoppable glacier by the establishment, hit a hot pebble in Peterborough – and melted. And that was only in 55% turnout!
Only an insane despotic establishment woud risk all, to remain in power and keep all their illgotten gains – rather then realise their time is OVER. if they insist on revolution it is available and willing. The Gillet Jaunes, Podemos, 5 Star etc grass roots are not withering.. they are bouncing back off the ground.
Farage the City spiv was put in his place by the electorate yesterday. He and the right wing populists remain a threat though, but once again, at least for now, Britain has been spared from having one of his self-appointed stormtroopers sitting in Parliament.
Yes, nearly 10,000 of them “put him in his place.” Just behind the Labour muppet and well ahead of the Tories. Not bad for a party that didn’t exist a few weeks ago.
Very bad for the rest of us though….you think ‘he’s on our side’..Mark?
He’s certainly on Israel’s side. Though he’s “anti semitic” as well. The Guardian says so, so it must be true.
An unusually thought provoking article.
The ancien regimes, centred on the North America’s, European and Australasian world are being relegated by China, India, and Russia. The new silk roads are being built, the times are changing and they will embrace both the best of times and the worst of times.
The populations of the old world orders are in a state of confusion as to were their entitled positions are going. Gurus and snake oil sellers could have a field day if left unchallenged.
As far as I am concerned, war is still the greatest threat we all face…_
To say that Iran is flourishing is an insult to the Iranian people. They are suffering with high inflation, caused by the crippling sanctions imposed on them by the evil US. Everyday foodstuffs are very expensive.
I don’t necessarily agree with everything in this article,but these things need to be said, and in this sort of plain language.Thank you.
Another Europe hater. Are European countries the only ones carrying out imperialism in the history of the planet? Your ‘democratic’ Chinese friends have great form and history on this one. Your Russia too, with their imperialist Tsars and followed by the destructive, imperialist Soviet system.
Humans, all of us, are a pretty nasty species, we kill each other, and the planet. We can be compassionate and caring too. Your tribal comparisons are meaningless.
As a very wise teacher once said: “He who is without sin can cast the first stone”. Perhaps it would be good for you and others to listen?
Pointing out failings in a system is not hating the system.
It is hating the failings, if that.
After all, failings can be corrected.
Calling people “Europe haters”, “Freedom haters”, “America haters”, or “Democracy haters” just because they have noticed the hypocrisy and corruption which hide behind those four words doesn’t really adress the issues.
By the same token, someone who criticizes American faults is not automatically a Putin-bot or a China-bot. Nor is someone who can criticize their own failings guilty of “self hatred”.
Let’s look into all this properly.
We don’t need slogans.
And just who did the Russians and Chinese plunder?
The planet. China in particular cornered just about every extractivist commodity market there is. So much so, that when they tailed off their ghost city and infrastructure strategy: the commodity markets took their present downturn. In that time – less than a decade – they used more cement than the USA used in all of the 20th century. Cement production which is one of the largest global GHG emitters (5-8%). Primary resource extraction that causes the majority of GHG emissions; pollution; biodiversity loss; etc.
“Our Chinese friends” have never been great imperialists. They are a status quo power, generally content with what they’ve got, and preoccupied with the problems of their vast country. They want to trade freely and fairly with the rest of the world. They have a very good record compared with the 500 year record of genocide, slavery, racism and rapacious exploitation of western powers. And they are of course part of that record as victims of that kind of behaviour. In the 15th century Admiral Cheng Ho led huge Chinese fleets in voyages of exploration across Asia and Africa. He gave lavish gifts to local rulers who were willing to symbolically acknowledge the Emperor as the Son of Heaven, and took back novelties like giraffes to amuse his emperor. What he did not do was massacre, slaughter, enslave, loot and burn. The Chinese thought these voyages were an interesting episode, but decided they had everything they needed at home and concentrated on domestic concerns.
In 1991, the rulers in Moscow gave away nearly half of their population, and a third of their territory, over 2 million square miles, which contained fabulous natural wealth. They decided they had enough on their plate dealing with the problems of the 6 million square mile Russian Federation. Another status quo power. That’s how non imperialist Russia is.
Bollocks. The real truth is they could no longer afford to pay the soldiers occupying the countries they had de facto annexed.
The 14 other republics were being heavily subsidised by Moscow, like Ulster, Wales and Scotland are by England.
‘Facts’ pulled out of you arse to order…
You’ll forgive me if I’m sceptical of your expertise in Soviet era economics.
You’re quite right, of course, Russia refused to allow the independence of the Baltic States, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan (floating on a sea of oil), Belarus and the rest. It brutally occupied all those countries with its armies and refused to let any of them have any independence at all.
Oh ffs. It wasn’t within the gift of the Soviet leadership to ‘allow’ independence. The Soviet Union was held together by the Red Army and the KGB. When the SU collapsed it hadn’t paid them for months. It is eminently possible to be oil rich and bankrupt, as Venezuela demonstrates today.
The collapse of the Soviet Union does not demonstrate the moral superiority of the Russian, or Soviet communism, it demonstrates their incompetence.
I think that you mistake the USSR with some ancient aristocratic empire – like the British, French or US ones.
The soviet countries decided to break up.
Btw, how many USSR leaders were Russian? Any from any other places besides Moscow?
Quite a few. Lenin, Trotsky and 85% of the Bolsheviks were Chosen Folk, from all points of the compass north, south, west and east of Moscow. They hated Russians.
Krushchev was a crafty Ukrainian peasant.
Stalin was Georgian.
Gorbachev was Ukrainian.
Not sure about the rest.
Well said Mark – as always I concur.
It is not a question of being a Europe hater, just a hypocrisy and double standards hater, a lies hater, and a genocide -, enslavement – , racism – and inhuman exploitation – hater.
There does seem to be a fair amount of wishful thinking there, but something true probably lies behind it.
I’ll be turning off notifications after this reply I’ve better things to be doing, Andre consistently lumps my country in with the old world parasites, I agree with a lot of what he says but he’s blinkered in his view of Europe, its greed not race, African, Asian et al would have done the same thing including the Irish it is a human condition, not limited to “the west”, I would like this obviously intelligent sentient writer to use some balance.
Perhaps you’re right.
But surely it doesn’t have to be an either him-or-you situation?
Certainly I agree with a lot of what both of you say, at any rate.