The Real War: The Civilizational Aspect
I want to build up to the war of civilizations slowly. We’ll start with an excellent article that presents an overview of what Putin has been seeing of the Woke West. Remember, Putin has been more or less in charge of Russia for around two decades, but has likely been an observer of Western politics for at least another decade. This article is long, and traces the interaction of Russia with the US over the two decades of Putin’s rule in Russia. What I’ve excerpted here provides the context for Putin’s accession to power—the state of relations at that time. It’s not humanly possible to understand Russia’s response to our aggressive expansion of our military sites to the very borders of Russia without this context. I hasten to add that, while you may disagree with the author’s idea of a redirection of the Covid psychosis to the Russia psychosis, there seems little doubt that American public life seems to shift from one hysteria to the next—and that the same people are directing it. This is a theme that will turn up later, so I include it at the beginning:
American foreign policy is buckling under its own contradictions. We no longer have the luxury of decadence.
By Benjamin Braddock
The center is not holding, things are falling apart. We have moved on from mass psychosis over vaccines to mass psychosis over the urgent need to go to war with Russia.
... Two years of pent-up dissociated rage is being channeled and redirected at an external target by the same people responsible for the response to COVID-19, among the worst atrocities in American history.
The September 11, 2001 attacks were the beginning of the end for the window of opportunity we had to forge a partnership with Russia. Just one year earlier, President Putin had expressed interest in joining NATO during President Clinton’s visit to Moscow. Clinton’s exact response has not been publicly reported but it was not affirmative. In retrospect, it was exactly the partnership the West needed to counter the rise of China. But Washington had spent the previous decade treating Russia as a colonized vassal, there was little interest in allowing such a backward and humiliated country into the gilded halls of NATO.
It’s worth remembering that Putin facilitated the overflight of Russia by US military flights to Afghanistan, and even the establishment of US bases at sites in former Central Asian republics of the USSR. He received no thanks in return.
Russia in the 1990s was a wreck. In the wake of the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia’s government became a puppet state of America and the West and its economy was a monumental disaster. People stopped getting paid, monthly inflation was in the double-digits, life savings disappeared overnight, banks disappeared overnight. The fertility rate plummeted, along with life expectancy, with over five million excess deaths recorded over the decade—mostly from deaths of despair. During post-Soviet privatization, large state enterprises were sold for pennies on the ruble to the politically well-connected, which is how most of the oligarchs acquired their fortunes. And politically well-connected Americans made fortunes in Russia as well.
Wayne Merry, a U.S. official at the embassy in Moscow in the 1990s said later: “We created a virtual open shop for thievery at a national level and for capital flight in terms of hundreds of billions of dollars, and the raping of natural resources and industries on a scale which I doubt has ever taken place in human history.” It was against this backdrop that Putin rose to power. Funny enough, when Boris Yeltsin picked Putin as his presidential successor, he called Bill Clinton to get approval. Putin came to power with one burning desire: to Make Russia Great Again, and to keep it from ever being humiliated the way it was in its lost decade.
That’s pretty hard to argue with, as a national goal.
As Putin was rebuilding Russia, America was carrying out national remodeling projects in Iraq and Afghanistan that were abandoned just past the demolition phase. The idea was to spread American “values” and our “way of life” no matter how horrifying the consequences were for the people involved.
Throughout Vladimir Putin’s political career he has watched as American foreign policy has run amuck in the world like a bull in a china shop. He has learned how our leaders operate and understands the treachery of which they are capable.
We really get into the civilizational aspect of all this with Tom Luongo’s terrific podcast interview with Alastair Crooke. To introduce Crooke:
Alastair Crooke CMG, sometimes erroneously referred to as Alistair Crooke, (born 1949) is a British diplomat, the founder and director of the Conflicts Forum, an organisation that advocates for engagement between political Islam and the West. Previously he was a ranking figure in both British intelligence (MI6) and European Union diplomacy.
The podcast is something like an hour and twenty minutes long. I’ve only listened to the first hour, but I was very impressed. Below I’ve transcribed what I regarded as key portions—as you can imagine, there’s much more in the podcast. The words are Crooke’s, but I’ve excised excess verbiage to try to provide a more focused presentation.
March 15, 2022
After Luongo’s intro, Crooke begins his remarks by stressing that the current conflict is more than just geopolitics. He points to the emphasis in the joint Putin - Xi statement on culture, history, and political structures. Putin and Xi were saying that we need a multi-lateral world and that our different civilizational approaches must be respected. The Globalist Order of the Prog West must respect other civilizations. Putin, says Crooke, "feels this personally." Putin's model is of 19th century Europe, with the Great Powers in dialogue with each other. For Putin it's also about the "moral sense of what Russia stood for", and in that regard Crooke provides a direct quote from Putin’s address at a past Davos conference:
"We see many of the Euro-Atlantic countries are actually rejecting their own roots, including the Christian values that constitute the basis of Western civilization. They are denying moral principles and all traditional identities: national identity, cultural, religious--and even sexual. They are implementing policies that equate large families with same sex partnerships, belief in God with a belief in Satan."
Putin, therefore, sees his project very much as “rebuilding the moral basis of the Orthodox vision for Russia.”
Luongo sets up the next segment by first discussing Putin's "re-churchification" of the East, the recognition of the spiritual needs of the population, which also resonates in countries like Hungary and Poland. This “re-churchification” serves as a bulwark against the "virulent atheism" of the West. "It's a civilizational war." Luongo even suggests that a year or two from now Poland and Hungary--"which are being predated on a daily basis both economically and culturally" by the West--may be open to cooperation with Russia.
Crooke interjects that in the present conflict the Neocons are just following their same old play book. They tried to crash the Russian economy in 1997, they tried again in 2014--hoping to do to Putin the same thing they did to remove Yeltsin. "And now we have this amazing attack across all media fronts, plus all tech operations, immediately going into play against Russia." The whole attack on the ruble was pre-planned, he says.
Beginning around 34:00 Luongo begins talking about how foolish our rulers are: "power makes you stupid".
At 35:30 Luongo turns it over to Crooke again, seeking his views on why Russia was willing to "go nuclear" by invading Ukraine. In his response, Crooke first appeals to history, but then moves on to a fundamental conflict between what he tends to call East and West. It really comes down to a conflicting vision of human nature—man as, essentially, a machine or man as a rational and spiritual being.
Crooke: Well, I think [the Russians] are still bitter and hostile because of that whole episode when the West almost stole Russia completely. And then out of the blue Putin came. He was very bright and very clever and he strategically started to rebuild Russian self esteem, confidence, AND military power.
The other reason Putin is confident is that one of the things he made clear in that talk in Davos, he said: "What people want is a job, they want to be able to work, they want to be able to provide for their family, buy a reasonably priced house." And this is exactly where our economies have gone in the opposite direction. We have offshored most of the sort of jobs which provide social employment, we've created these tech firms that are worth billions but employ almost nobody and make no profits.
This is the big ideological divide between East and West. Whe President Xi said, "Trees don't grow in air. They have to have roots in earth, in soil. They have to have water, they have to get nutrients." I remember, not so long ago, an American colleague of mine, and I was asking him, "Do you really think you're going to get back all those manufacturing jobs under this Trump process?" And he said, "Of course not! We're not interested in that! What we want is the commanding heights of tech. We want to be able to set the protocols. We want to set the regulations for the next decades. We don't want that ordinary manufacturing crap--they can keep that in Asia! Our real problem is, What do we do with the 20% of Americans who are just unnecessary, who aren't wanted in this setup? How do we deal with that?"
This is the essence of Davos. They wanted to move toward a high tech thing, and they've forgotten how to actually provide something for their people. Providing employment and a living for their people. In fact they're doing the opposite. They're providing employment for such a tiny proportion of the population and the rest have no ability, they are unnecessary to this new [version?].
And that, of course, is at the heart of what that Davos thing is all about. You put them on a sort of permanent pension. But we all know what happens. After a time people find this life boring. They become angry and eventually they revolt against the system. And that's where we basically sort of are.
When you talk about Davos in Europe, all those great ideological constructs that they had, thanks to the pandemic, there were going to be regulatory control systems and green passes across the world, and social credits. And then the same thing with carbon--each one managed by a coalition of oligarchs and bureaucrats. It was going to be tech government. And we were going to have the same for automation, with robots and less people working. More money to pay for the transition [?]. And then modern monetary theory. ... And this has really just collapsed, and it's not surprising.
It’s ironic, in a way, that Crooke characterizes the Davos vision—which is simply a technological development of the 19th century derived Progressive vision—as rule by “oligarch” managers. But that is the Progressive vision: rule by “experts”. We apply the term “oligarch” to Russia in a pejorative sense, never dreaming that it just may apply to modern American society, as well.
Actually, the canary in the mine was Afghanistan. It was a classic pilot project for technological managerialists. [41:10] The whole lot crashed in 11 days. [Qasem Soleimani, says Crooke, was the architect of the new Central Asia order ready to take effect after the American collapse. It was set up back in 2016].
To conclude on an economic note—but also a societal note—here is a partial transcript of comments offered up at Steve Bannon’s War Room. I got this via TGP. The title of the post is, Steve Bannon Reacts to Breaking News of Saudi Arabia Moving to the Yuan. Of course, we can’t be entirely sure what the Saudis are up to, but Bannon presents this news to Steve Cortes for his reaction. I have to say, Cortes has always impressed me as informed and incisive in his comments. He doesn’t fail, here, in his reaction to the news.
Before giving Cortes the floor, Bannon makes the obvious comment that the Saudis are pretty much creatures of the US government, kept in place by us. Cortes responds:
Guess what? We're not gonna get gratitude [from the Saudis], because they're gangsters, the royal family that controls Saudi Arabia in Riyadh. And, by the way, this is a gangster move, from a group of gangsters, because we dared the world to get off of the dollar. We dared them how? By declaring war on Russia, and specifically on the Russian people by weaponizing money. We are at war right now with Russia. We are not shooting--yet--and I hope it doesn't come to that. If we cool down it won't come to that, but we are at full scale economic war with the people of Russia. We are actively collapsing their currency, using the dollar as a weapon.
Remember the Congressional debate and vote on war with the Russian people? I hope you emailed your Congress critter on that issue.
But there's great risk to that. We dared the world to consider alternatives, to get off the dollar. And guess what? Right now MBS and Saudi Arabia--in a gangster move--sees that King Dollar is wobbly, and it looks like he's gonna deliver a right cross, knockout blow to the dollar.
Here's why that matters to Americans, way beyond foreign policy. Here's why it matters to your everyday life even if you've never left the United States and don't care about other currencies. King Dollar is what has allowed the United States to finance what are nightmarish levels of deficits. We've effectively gotten away with it because of the global thirst for dollars, because all transactions--whether it's an oil transaction between Saudi Arabia and China, or an arms deal, whatever it is--all major transactions in the world occur in dollars. And the thirst for dollars means that there was an appetite for our outrageous amounts of debt.
If that appetite starts to wane, and eventually goes away--and it very well could--this country quickly becomes Argentina. We quickly enter a death spiral of debt--and don't think it can't happen here! Because Argentina, a century ago, was once a very wealthy, very advanced country on par if not exceeding the United States with its prosperity. So, it seems unthinkable, but it can happen. After a century of dollar primacy in global capital markets, Zhou Baidan--in just over a year in office--is already dethroning King Dollar. And this matters to the lives of every single American.
This is serious stuff. We have a bought government—the best money can buy. 42 GOP Senators sent a letter to Zhou, in effect demanding WW3. Yes, that was political grandstanding, but it was also incredibly reckless and was undoubtedly dictated by moneyed interests that want war. The orchestration for the war drums is as obvious as the orchestration of the Russia Hoax, the Covid Hoax, the Insurrection Hoax, the Election Hoax and now the second go round of a Ukraine Hoax. Who seriously thinks our elected representatives aren’t aware that there pawns in the game? I expect this of elected officials, but what really burns my ass is that Bluto Barr, in whom I placed such confidence, seems to think this is good enough for the American people.