by David Stockman, David Stockman’s Contra Corner:
If you want to know why we have a $19 trillion national debt and a fiscal structure that will take that already staggering figure to $35 trillion and 140% of GDP within a decade, just consider the latest campaign fracas. That is, the shrieks of disbelief in response to Donald Trump’s sensible suggestion that the Europeans pay for their own defense.
The fact is, NATO has been an obsolete waste for 25 years. Yet the denizens of the Imperial City cannot even seem to grasp that the 4 million Red Army is no more; and that the Soviet Empire, which enslaved 410 million souls to its economic and military service, vanished from the pages of history in December 1991.
What is left is a pitiful remnant—–145 million aging, Vodka-besotted Russians who subsist in what is essentially a failing third world economy. Its larcenous oligarchy of Putin and friends appeared to live high on the hog and to spread a veneer of glitz around Moscow and St. Petersburg. But that was all based on the world’s one-time boom in oil, gas, nickel, aluminum, fertilizer, steel and other commodities and processed industrial materials.
Stated differently, the Russian economy is a glorified oil patch and mining town with a GDP the equivalent of the NYC metropolitan area. And that’s its devastating Achilles Heel.
The central bank driven global commodity and industrial boom is over and done. As a new cycle of epic deflation engulfs the world and further compresses commodity prices and profits, the Russian economy is going down for the count; it’s already been shrunk by nearly 10% in real terms, and the bottom is a long way down from there.
The plain fact is Russia is an economic and military weakling and is not the slightest threat to the security of the United States. None. Nichts. Nada. Nope.
Its entire expenditure for national defense amounts to just $50 billion, but during the current year only $35 billion of that will actually go to the Russian Armed Forces. On an apples-to-apples basis, that’s about three weeks of Pentagon spending!
Even given its non-existent capacity, however, there remains the matter of purported hostile intention and aggressive action. But as amplified below, there has been none. The whole demonization of Putin is based on a false narrative arising from one single event.
To wit, the February 2014 coup in Kiev against Ukraine’s constitutionally elected government was organized, funded and catalyzed by the Washington/NATO apparatus. Putin took defensive action in response because this supremely stupid and illegal provocation threatened vital interests in his own backyard.
The openly hostile government installed in Kiev the very next day by the State Department threatened to join NATO, persecute the Russian-speaking minority in eastern Ukraine, renounce its multi-billion financial obligations to Moscow and imperil Russia’s rental arrangement for the homeport of its Black Sea naval fleet in Sevastopol (Crimea). The latter has been the historic anchor of Russia’s national security policy under czars and commissars alike.
Moreover, the putsch installed by the “regime change” crowd at the CIA, State Department and so-called Endowment for Democracy while Putin was minding his own business at the Sochi Olympics was crawling with adherents of the “Right Sector”. The latter is a fascist movement that looks to a World War II Nazi collaborator, Stepan Bandera, as its national hero.
That’s right. The new prime minister imposed by US Assistant Secretary of State and card-carrying neocon, Victoria Nuland, and affectionately known as “our man Yats” was part of a neo-Nazi cabal.
Moreover, without the prodding of Washington and the bellicose incitements of the NATO apparatus, Europe wouldn’t even need a military alliance. Save for the manufactured and unnecessary conflict with Russia, Europe has no industrial state enemy on the planet; it doesn’t need to spend even the $250 billion or 2% of GDP that it collectively allocates to defense (waste) at present.
The whole confrontation with Russia including the self-inflicted economic folly of the anti-Putin sanctions is the handiwork of a war machine and its bureaucratic auxiliaries that are long past their sell-by date. That is, the entire “Russian threat” narrative is concocted by generals, admirals, spies, diplomats and other national security apparatchiks who would otherwise be out of power, jobs and cushy pensions.
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