Putin’s Electoral Manifesto

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s national address last week grabbed headlines for its proclamations of new weapons systems, but as significant in his speech was its domestic policy implications ahead of a March 18 election, Gilbert Doctorow explains.

By Gilbert Doctorow

Several days ago, I wrote the first installment of my analysis of Vladimir Putin’s address to the two houses of Russia’s bicameral legislature on March 1. In that essay, I focused on the last third of the address in which the Russian President rolled out major nuclear weapons delivery systems which were notable for unparalleled technologies that may change the world power balance.

Putin claimed that Russia’s full parity with the United States in strategic weaponry has been restored. His blunt message to the United States to abandon its 16-year attempt to achieve a first strike capability and sit down for arms control talks drew the immediate attention of world media, even if the initial reading was confused.

In this second installment of my analysis of President Putin’s landmark speech, I will consider the address in its entirety within its other context, directed at the domestic audience and constituting his electoral platform for the election to be held on March 18.

The Russian President’s annual address is mandated by the Constitution. It resembles the State of the Union address in the United States. Normally it should have taken place more than a month ago, and Putin’s rescheduling it for this critical time in the midst of the campaign raised some eyebrows. The head of the liberal Yabloko party complained to the Central Electoral Commission last week about that very fact. However, such complaints were already dismissed previously by Commission director Ella Pamfilova as lacking merit since such speeches were said to be “standard practice in many nations around the world.”

Be that as it may, in actual fact the speech delivered by Vladimir Putin was not a simple summary of government activity in the year gone by and short term projection of future government plans. The speech took in a much longer time frame, looking back to the condition of Russia when Putin first took office in 2000 to highlight his administration’s achievements in social, medical, educational and other spheres till now and projecting forward six years, to the limit of the next presidential term, to set out in each domain of government activity what are the major objectives.

This was also the longest speech of its kind delivered by Putin in his three terms as President, exceeding by far his previous record of one hour forty minutes.  For all these reasons it is entirely appropriate to call the speech his platform, or still better, as the British would call it with the stress on cogency of thinking processes behind the stated objectives, his “manifesto.”

In every way, the Address was a direct response to all the criticisms of his time in office that Putin has received from his seven challengers in the presidential race coming from across the political spectrum from nationalists and liberals on the right and Communists of various labels on the left. When compared with the first debate among those seven aired on the federal television network Pervy Kanal on the morning of the 28th, it leaves the whole field of challengers looking like squabbling toddlers in a kindergarten.

Putin and his advisers knew full well from the challengers’ prior position statements what are their joint and several lines of attack and his address was a direct, almost point for point response.

With the exception of Vladimir Zhirinovsky of the nationalist LDPR, who essentially supports Putin’s stress on strong foreign policy and strong military as his most important task as President and of the liberal Ksenia Sobchak, who totally rejects Putin’s foreign policy as detrimental to Russia’s interest in accommodation with the West for the sake of shared values and common civilization, all the other candidates have no interest in foreign policy as such and insist that the best foreign policy is a good domestic policy. That happens also to suit very well their own talents and experience, since the debates quickly revealed that none but Zhirinovsky has any relevant experience in international affairs.

The common position of five out of seven challengers is that a good foreign policy is possible only for a powerful state, and a powerful state is the product of a strong economy and prosperous people. One of the candidates, Grigory Yavlinsky of the liberal Yabloko party summed up the problem most efficiently:  a country like Russia which only accounts for 2% of global GDP,  a country which has a GDP and a military budget that are both only 10% of those of the United States, cannot compete on the world stage.

Six of the seven challengers to Putin are persuaded that the electorate has no questions about foreign and military policy, but has a great many questions about the domestic programs of the federal government, about poverty, inadequate public health care, bad roads, corruption and thieving officials, to name just the most salient concerns.

Accordingly, in his address to the Federal Assembly, Vladimir Putin devoted the first two thirds of his time on stage to domestic policy, setting out in detail specific targets to be reached by 2024 in many key areas of activity and financing by the federal government with a view to creating a prosperous society that is just and attractive to its members, that enjoys robust economic growth and values the human potential of its citizens above all.

However, in the last third of his speech devoted to military matters, he made the point that notwithstanding its still modest GDP and notwithstanding demographic and other problems confronting it, Russia has successfully countered US efforts to render useless Russia’s nuclear strike force. Ever since the United States abrogated the ABM Treaty in 2002, it has worked to encircle the Russian Federation with dual purpose anti-missile defense bases that will at some point confer on the United States a first strike capability.

The end result would be to deny to Russia its residual argument for holding its permanent seat in the UN Security Council and its prominent place in other international forums derived from the past glory of the Soviet Union.

Parity Restored

In his speech, Putin said nuclear parity with the United States has been restored and will be indefinitely sustainable given the decade long technological lead his country now has in totally new and formidable strategic weapons systems that can defeat any ABM array.  Russia is and will be a powerful state because it has an unequalled defense capability which provides physical security to its citizens, surely the first responsibility of any government. With physical security ensured, the government can create the infrastructures for a successful economy and successful civil society.  In all of this, Putin turns the logic of his political opponents on its head.

Russia’s hard power justifies its aspirations to a strong foreign policy. Russia’s nuclear umbrella, which he said covers not only the Russian Federation but also its “allies,” will be the strongest element of attraction. Depending on how the term “allies” is eventually defined, it is possible to imagine a line of candidate “allies” from the developing world in particular seeking protection from what they see as US bullying and regime change politics.  Russia’s hard power will clearly trump soft power, which is what Putin’s challengers are largely proposing to use in pursuit of an active foreign policy at some time in the future when the country is prosperous.

Moreover, the hard power can be used to fuel the Russian economy as a source of innovation which, we will see below, is key to his program for accelerating the growth rate.  Russia’s military budget has an unusually high ratio of equipment procurement to manpower maintenance and operational costs, namely 1:1. Cutting edge and world beating technological advances in weapons systems can be a source of unique new materials, electronics, software and the like.

Over the course of several years, President Putin has encouraged the enterprises in the Russian military industrial complex to develop civilian applications for their scientific breakthroughs citing specifically the need to emulate U.S. practices. He has told factory management they must look to the civilian economy because the state will be cutting back on their funding as it completes its immediate acquisitions program.

Some commentators in the West have said that the defense part of Putin’s Address was meant to rouse the patriotic pride of his compatriots for the sake of success at the voting booths.  However, I believe the calculation was more complex. The rollout of new, invincible military hardware spelling national security swept aside the specific arguments of Putin’s challengers in the race.  It swept aside all the arguments from the past that he and his cronies have stolen the national wealth: the national wealth had instead been invested in saving the nation from its external competitors turned adversaries.

Another view that has been promoted among some Western commentators is that Putin was presenting a platform of “guns and butter.”  No, the platform thinking is more subtle:  that you get butter only if you have guns.  This aligns with an argument that Putin has been making for years: that nations unavoidably pay for armed forces; the difference is only whether they are paying to support their own troops or to pay tribute, covering the costs of someone else’s troops dominating them.

There can be no question that electoral considerations drove the decision to present Russia’s new hardware precisely now.  There are several occasions of major publicity value domestically when this could have been done. The last one was back in December during Putin’s annual press conference.  Or, he could have chosen to break the news at a foreign venue of great moment, such as the Munich Security Conference in February, where Putin had first made waves globally with his speech of February 2007.

That instead Putin and his advisers chose to use the annual address to the Federal Assembly and to place that address in the middle of the electoral campaign shows the intent was to kill two birds with one stone:  to overwhelm the presidential candidates challenging his next term in office, leaving them no time to formulate credible counter arguments, and to access the very large contingent of foreign correspondents who would be present for his annual speech to parliament.

If this was indeed his intent, he was only partly successful.  Today’s latest televised debates of the candidates on the federal news network Pervy Kanal showed that one challenger was unperturbed and found an opportunity to make political capital from Putin’s address. Ksenia Sobchak has once again repositioned her campaign and adopted the slogan of Peace Candidate, casting Putin as the candidate of the War Party based on his rocket show.

‘Prosperity of Households’

Now let us look at the specific objectives Putin set out in his speech for making Russia prosperous and an enviable society in the coming six years.  Then we will consider the tools he proposes to use to reach these often very ambitious objectives: Do they entail major structural reforms of the economy as many foreign and some Russian pro-market specialists have called for?  Are they likely to require wholesale changes to the cabinet of ministers and personnel in the ministries after the elections, as some speculate?  Or are they incremental, building upon the programs his government has already implemented often in pilot projects in one or another region of this enormous country?

“Quality of life” for its citizens and “prosperity of households” are set by Vladimir Putin as the ultimate objectives of his government’s domestic policies in a new term. This statement of purpose is indistinguishable from what his seven challengers are saying. Indeed, Putin has taken on board words and concepts that have in the past been the property of the opposition.  We note this stress on the realization of each person’s talents, and his specific mention of the need to expand to the greatest extent the space for personal freedom. Putin’s program differs from those of the Right and the Left principally in the plans to achieve shared goals.

Instead of re-nationalization and re-distribution of wealth called for by the Left candidates or stress on sweeping personnel changes in the bureaucracy to root out corruption as well as total overhaul of the judiciary for the sake of better independence and professionalism called for by the Right candidates, Putin calls for a breakthrough in applying technology to “improve the people’s quality of life, modernize the economy, infrastructure and state governance and administration.”

The term breakthrough appears repeatedly in the text which follows and by itself would suggest disruption and new directions. He further says in the introductory section that it is “time to take a number of tough decisions that are long overdue.”

However, at the same time there is a counter-indication that Putin is not campaigning against himself. He insists that the foundation is already in place: “We have substantial experience implementing ambitious programs and social projects.”

In what follows, Vladimir Putin touches upon a great many separate social issues and on various sectors of the economy which will be central to any leap forward in global performance and creation of high quality and well- paying jobs at home. Let us begin with those headings to which he has attached specific quantitative goals.

Life expectancy – Putin identifies this as a gauge of well-being.  It was 65 when he came to power in 2000, with male life expectancy below 60 at the time.  Today it is 73.   The new goal for 2030 is 80 plus, i.e., on a par with Japan, France and Germany. Though it exists as a value in and of itself, in the context of Russia’s poor demographics coming out of the depression of the 1990s, extending the productive lives of the citizenry, just as subsidizing young families to encourage more births, can be a major contributing factor to national output.

Housing – in 2017 three million Russian families moved into improved housing. The target is for five million to do so each year in the next presidential term. Housing supply, presently at 80 million square meters annually, must go to 120 million

Transport – make Russia the world’s key logistics and transport hub

Roads – over the next 6 years to nearly double the spending on road construction and repairs, going from 6.4 trillion rubles over the period 2012-17 to 11 trillion with spending concentrated on regional and local roads which are still deplorable and a matter of great concern to the citizenry

Rail – raise the throughput of major rail links to the Far East by 1.5 times, reduce transit time of containers from Vladivostok to Russia’s Western borders to just 7 days, more generally increase the volume of transit shipments between Europe and Asia 4 times.

Northern Sea Route – increase cargo traffic 10 times by 2025

Power generation – attract investment of 1.5 trillion rubles in private investment for modernizing the power generation sector. Shift the whole country’s power grid to digital technology.

Internet – by 2024 ensure the whole country has high speed internet. Fiber optic lines to most populated areas with more than 240 people

Healthcare – double healthcare spending to more than 4% of GDP over the period 2019-24.

Restore primary healthcare to localities where they were shut. By 2020 ensure each small town with a population of between 100 and 2,000 has a paramedic station and outpatient clinic. For very small villages, create mobile units.

Promotion of small businesses – by 2025 their contribution to GDP should approach 40%, taking in 25 million people, up from 19 million today.

Non-resource exports – In the coming 6 years to double the amount of non-resource and non-energy exports to reach $250 billion. Engineering exports to reach $50 billion; services, including education, healthcare, tourism and transport to reach $100 billion per year.

Other very important elements in the priorities for development in the next 6 year term are described directionally but not quantitatively. These include education, fundamental research, culture, agriculture.

Many of the metrics noted above imply very substantial government financing of infrastructures. Others assume public-private partnerships. And still others imply strictly private investment.

Projected Growth

As regards the state, where is the money to come from? As regards private business, domestic and foreign, why would they decide now to invest in the government’s priorities for development?

The answer is found in an expanding economy, one placing bets on the newest technologies globally. An incoming tide raises all boats.

In terms of per-capita GDP, Putin says that in his coming mandate Russia should be counted among the five largest global economies, with per-capita GDP rising by 50% to 2025.  This is a dramatic increase from the presently anemic 1.7% GDP growth per annum, which lags behind global growth by one percent. His plan assumes in particular increased labor productivity. He projects growth of at least 5% per year in medium sized and large enterprises of basic industries such as manufacturing, construction, transport, agriculture and trade to reach the level of leading world economies by 2030.

Rising productivity is a consequence of subsidies and other direct state support to priority industries to make competitive goods and a consequence of private investment of manufacturers on their own to upgrade and technologically reequip their own facilities.

Putin tells us that the first precondition for the virtuous cycle described above has been put in place: low inflation.  Thanks to the efforts of the Bank of Russia these past couple of years, the inflation rate has been brought down to an historic low of 2% per annum.

Low inflation has made it possible to lower the mortgage rate to below 10%, with a 7% mortgage on the horizon within the coming several years.  Mortgages already have reached an all-time peak of one million last year. Cheap credit will also enable project financing to housing construction, thereby passing from the consumer to developers the risks of non-completion of apartment buildings. This is not a small issue in the present campaign. The problem of defrauded apartment buyers has been seized upon by several of the presidential hopefuls as a stick to beat the present administration. Both mortgages on the demand side and project financing on the supply side will drive the housing boom that is presupposed in Putin’s electoral platform, raising the numbers of well-paid jobs.

Meanwhile, low inflation makes possible affordable credit to business of all scales, and for shared infrastructure investments, another fundamental driver of the economy in Putin’s economic model.

But there is more to the toolkit than Treasury funds and interest rate management. In his speech, Vladimir Putin described a whole array of legal, fiscal and administrative measures having the combined effect of improving the business climate in the country.  He called attention in particular to the need to pass enabling legislation for introduction of cutting-edge technologies such as driverless vehicles, Artificial Intelligence and blockchain transactions in several industries so that the Russian economy can be a leader in the fastest growing vectors of the global economy.

Technical means to curb graft and thereby improve the business climate include further reduction of  reporting and of on-site inspections of business by tax and other authorities with a shift to remote, i.e., digital exchange of information over the internet. Plans also call for greatly curtailing recourse to the Criminal Code to resolve commercial disputes.  These types of technical solution to the seemingly intractable problem of day to day corruption already proved their worth at the very start of Putin’s time in power when he simplified the personal income tax to a flat 15%, thereby cutting all contact between the vast majority of the population and tax officers to “negotiate” exemptions and the like, while at the same time greatly increasing tax compliance.

Hegemony Repudiated

The domestic portion of the Manifesto builds on real achievements over the past several years in steadying the economy during times of great outside stress. Though market oriented in most respects, it is also entails state-directed economic priorities to promote “national hero” industries as is practiced by France and other European countries. But this does not approach state capitalism. In his speech, Putin remarks that it will be an objective in his next term to reduce the share of the economy in state hands. This share has risen in the last several years as clean-up of the Russian banking industry resulted in failing banks being taken over by the state. Putin says these assets must now be sold off as quickly as possible.

The domestic policies are largely a continuation and acceleration of good trends already in place using a familiar tool kit.  So where is the “breakthrough”? Likely it is to be found in the new technologies that Russia will welcome and facilitate through support to start-ups, enabling legislation, cheap credits and other technical means.

In this, we may see the steady influence on Putin’s thinking coming from some members of  the liberal members of his entourage, including, for example Herman Gref, the chairman of Sberbank, and even his prime minister Dmitry Medvedev, who has been an avid promoter of digitalization to streamline all government services.

However one may regard the level of democracy in Russia, the connections drawn between freedom, innovation, the knowledge society and prosperity in Putin’s electoral Manifesto fit very well within liberal West European and U.S. thinking.

The thinking about balanced budgets and stress in domestic policy on the government’s role creating physical and legislative infrastructures for business to thrive fits well within conservatism of the pre-Reagan Republican Party in the United States.  The fairly extensive social welfare dimension of Putin’s present domestic policy was not developed in this address though he did speak of the need to raise pensions, ensure equal access to quality education and expand health care to all citizens however remote. That falls into the tradition of Bismarckian conservatism that gave rise to the welfare states on the Continent.

The problems between Russia and the West arise not in the domestic programs of Vladimir Putin, present and future, but elsewhere in foreign and defense policy. At his and his country’s risk and peril, Vladimir Putin insists on its sovereignty and repudiates U.S. global hegemony. In this area, he enjoys the company of Russia’s patriotic Left parties and is scorned by the liberal Right.

This then is the unique synthesis of Left and Right notions that we find in Putin’s electoral Manifesto, which is nonetheless internally coherent.

Gilbert Doctorow is an independent political analyst based in Brussels. His latest book, Does the United States Have a Future? was published in October 2017. Both paperback and e-book versions are available for purchase on www.amazon.com and all affiliated Amazon websites worldwide.

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69 comments for “Putin’s Electoral Manifesto

  1. john landis
    March 8, 2018 at 11:39 pm

    wow! i didn’t know russia was such a great country and putin such a charismatic advocate of democratic values. since i just got divorced i think I’ll just pack my stuff and move to moscow.
    ps. just a sugestion: shouldn’t the DONATE button on the right be in russian?

  2. Mark Thomason
    March 7, 2018 at 2:02 pm

    Hi speed internet by fiber optic cable will go the way of landlines. The coming 5G wireless networks will do all of that and more, and do it without the huge spending on cables. In the time frame Putin is discussing, it will be reality. Much of the developing world jumped straight to wireless, and it is likely Russia will do it that way too.

  3. Steve
    March 6, 2018 at 7:23 pm

    Gilbert fizzled at the end o his polemic. Isn’t it possible to have in sate hands with the peoples guidance a mixed economy? What about a cooperative based economy where workers control their own enterprise and fate. Surely this has worked in other countries (Mondragon) and could work in Russia. The narrative here is too constricted and needs expansion. Coops may be a key to more rapoid economic expansion by incorporating that value into the charter of the cooperative while also focusing on the ecological aspects of business activity and the protection of the environment. It is here Mr Putin seems weakest as his adviosrs haven’t explored the ful potential of the coop driven economy.

  4. March 6, 2018 at 6:27 pm

    “There can be no question that electoral considerations drove the decision to present Russia’s new hardware precisely now.” There can be no question, looking at it from Russians’ (all) standpoint, that this proud country that is being threatened by the US, in words and deeds, and extremely disrespected by racist people in all the developed democracies of the West – who are proud of ‘their’ countries (which got where they are because the Soviet Union won World War II, contrary to Western propaganda, the expense of 27 million Soviet citizens’ lives) – are relieved that their president didn’t get up and in public, after listing some of the wrongs done to Russia over the years by the West, didn’t respond with merely “Ouch!” One Guardian journo, Mark Galeotti, wrote that the live audience who heard Putin “dutifully applauded.” The stenographer/journo had to fill up space, but this was sad. This was my comment about that on the Off Guardian website:

    == =
    That small phrase told me a lot. He’s complaining about an audience! They sat and listened politely like any other audience and applauded repeatedly. When Putin got into the section of his address dealing with advanced military weapons, You could see the change in audience members’ demeanor. They couldn’t contain themselves, relatively speaking. They were ecstatic. I personally found that alarming, but understandable.

    People all over the the world saw it that address. So for Galeotti to try to make something out of nothing here, makes him look pathetic to a lot of rational, informed people. Additionally, It appears that Mark was personally greatly annoyed by the particularly warm reception Putin’s remarks about the weaponry got from his audience. One wouldn’t call the audience, during that part of the address, one that “dutifully” applauded.

    The world, especially outside the US, knows why the Russian audience appreciated the fact that Russia under Putin did not do ‘nothing’ about Mr Galeotti’s hero, uncle Sam, the bully. They were relieved to learn that after the provocations they had all endured, some of which they just heard Putin list, his public answer wasn’t just “ouch.” Russia – whose soldiers won WWII for everyone, despite the fact that the Nazi bug that was squashed and splattered ended up coming to life wherever its goo landed – has been so disrespected and threatened by almost the entire developed world, that it was only natural that that audience for a brief moment felt some pride in Putin’s bold talk. But racist, irrational haters of Russia don’t want to see any of that. As well, that audience no doubt rationally felt that here was some hope, in the reality that Putin here publically revealed, that the racist warmongers in centers of power throughout the West might just back off. Would Galeotti have the light to see that?

    But Galeotti has a job to do, which, it appears, he is perfectly suited to doing, and that job is channel state propaganda in accordance with the old American NSC 68 and the doctrinal system that that document represents. The entire American-led Corporatocracy is held captive to the outlook and doctrinal system stemming from that irrational anti-communist, Cold War document. As Chomsky said, the mafia don decides what the policies will be.
    = ==

    Otherwise, Putin revealed that he is, just as in the case of the leadership of secular Arab states that are falling one after another under the US instigated regime course program followed by ultra violent and ultra lawless uncle Sam, exactly the kind of leader, in certain important ways, that the West wants – in rhetoric. Putin is a neoliberal (it seems to me) capitalist who 1. invites (!!!) the private pharmaceutical companies in Russia to step in a help out with the challenge of keeping Russians healthy, with no mention of healthy lifestyles that would come about, partly, via the inclusion of organics in citizens’ diets (perhaps because that country is, reportedly, already very pro organics) 2. invites private sector (P3s, or privatization by stealth) assistance in the area of infrastructure building, 3. promises to increase GDP, when progressives know that ‘how’ you do that is the issue and nuclear everything is one way you can do that. I know that Russia has all kinds of orders from other countries for nuclear plants. Putin gives lip service to ‘green’, but he isn’t and can’t be if he’s going to lay pipelines all over the place while selling nukes and weapons to all who will buy them. Putin is a modern fossil. He is a slick gangster. But he is a nationalist and, as leaders within the US-dominated world system go, he is one of the better ones.

  5. Michael Kenny
    March 6, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    In other words, Putin, has no domestic policy. He’s simply “dog wagging”, using his blustering foreign policy to divert attention away from his lack of a domestic policy. The contents, at least as summarized by Mr Doctorow, is the usual “bull” that politicians spout at election time. Nobody in the rest of Europe or the US would take such claims from their own politicians seriously and I can’t imagine the Russian electorate being stupid enough to take them seriously either. It all sounds like the wild claims made in the old Soviet 5-year plans that never came anywhere near to being fulfilled but which communism’s American supporters trotted out piously as hard facts. It’s the old communist line: a pie in the sky when “the wonderful new system” is built at some undetermined time in the future and bread and water for all but the privileged few until then! And just as in the bad old Soviet days, Putin is going to divert scarce resources away from the needs of the people and pour them into the military machine. That sounds like a last desperate throw of the dice by a regime that’s on its last legs. A similar combination of a foreign war and an arms race it couldn’t afford brought down the Soviet Union. Amusingly, and perhaps typically, the Electoral Commission doesn’t address Yabloko’s complaint. It sidesteps it with an irrelevant “non-answer”.

  6. March 5, 2018 at 11:27 pm

    Would this make them agents of the Communist Bloc (China), instead of the Russian (or, perhaps Imperialist France)? Relatedly, as you’ve been reported….if/since Russia (non-international crime, but, U.N. Member State) is a member of the U.N., doesn’t that make “it’s laws” include the “Geneva Convention”? Hence, since these election sabotages include Geneva Convention Violations (THE THEFT OF THE PRESIDENCY [AND OTHER OFFICES] FROM THOSE HOLDING REPROVABLE, BEYOND DOUBT, GRAND JURY WARRANTS FOR THE OFFICES AND MULTIPLE BILLIONS IN GROWTH TRUSTS LOW/NO INTEREST LOANS AND GRANTS…ALL STOLEN, SINCE 1988-PRESENT)….WOULDN’T THAT MAKE RUSSIA (THE U.N. MEMBER STATE) RESPONSIBLE FOR DEMANDING THE VALID WARRANT HOLDER HOLD THE OFFICE (LEST THEY ENGAGE/COLLUDE IN THE THEFT OF THE OFFICE THEMSELVES)? I thought so too….AND, THEREFORE, REQUIRED TO PROVIDE ALL/ANY EVIDENCE IN FURTHERANCE THEREOF TO BRING THESE OFFICE THIEVES TO JUSTICE (OF WHICH YOU, PERSONALLY, ARE BEING BLAMED/ACCUSED)….Failure/Refusal to do so being an admission of guilt, in fact….

    • mike k
      March 6, 2018 at 11:24 am

      Incoherent legalisms.

  7. March 5, 2018 at 11:13 pm

    What? THE U.S. INTERFERED IN RUSSIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS? (AND IF SUCCESSFUL, THEY WILL HAVE AN EQUAL RIGHTS SUPPORTING?DEFENDING TRUE GOVERNMENT, IF SUCCESSFUL)……Or, did you mean International Criminals, opposing the U.S. Constitution, had done so (death penalty to those found guilty)? Meaning those doing so had been doing so as an “International Criminal/’Communist’ Agent”….dragging them further from government/peace into war, instead of further towards true democratization (majority-rule/civil verdicts being limited to above bankruptcy properties; and only unanimous and beyond doubt, criminal verdicts allowing below-bankruptcy-property-seizures, including bodily arrests)?

    • March 6, 2018 at 6:00 pm

      CIA’s first mission was preventing the Italian Communist Party from winning a national election. USA has toppled dozens of legitimate governments since WW2, including it’s own.

  8. Ol' Hippy
    March 5, 2018 at 7:11 pm

    Bush II’s dusting the ABM treaty is going to bite us in the butt, hard. If instead we had decent level headed non sociopathic leaders heading things we’d be in much better shape. There is so much waste on the bloated military half of which is ineffectual at best, goes for what exactly? Putin streamlined his for a fraction of the US. And they still want more funds. Nuts, really, nuts is all I can say. I do enjoy an easy reading piece such as this distilling another leader’s direction. Thanks, Gilbert for keeping us informed of current affairs without the propaganda.

  9. mike k
    March 5, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    The shock and humiliation Putin’s speech must have caused in the Deep State actors would have been a treat to witness. But of course they went into hiding to nurse their wounds, and redo some of their evil plots.

  10. KiwiAntz
    March 5, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    What Putin’s manifesto & his State of the Nation address really highlights is that Russia has in Putin, a strong, patriotic, intelligent, diplomatic & considered Leader who see’s the whole picture & not just on a local level, but globally? Contrast that with America’s failed Leaders? All of them of both Party’s are corrupt lackeys, bought & paid for by Corporate donors & receiving tributes like Mafia recipients! They don’t represent ordinary people! The US President is a used Car salesman type, a ex bankrupt Real estate mogul & reality TV Star, or the other Candidate, a ex-Presidents wife called Hillary Clinton who was as crooked & bent as a wind blasted tree? There must be something seriously wrong with your Political system that allows morons like this to stand for office & be elected! This isn’t a Democracy it’s a Stupidocracy! Putin has quietly & without fanfare, restored Russia’s prestige, honour & nuclear deterrent ability which now surpasses the West’s & has restored parity as a counterbalancing World Power to America’s naked, hegemonic aggression. America has proven time & time again that it can’t be trusted to honour any sort of agreement it signs & is a duplicitous & unreliable partner! Putin has drawn a line in the sand as a warning to the West & particularly the US, that enough is enough & that there is a limit to Russia’s strategic patience? Can you imagine Russia ringfencing America with 700 base’s & tolerating Military vessel’s in its waters? Can you imagine Russia setting up missile systems in Canada; Mexico or Cuba to disable American defence systems?? How would America react to that situation? Well, we’d have another Cuban missile crisis on our hands, that’s how America would react, as America would never tolerate this situation on their own doorstep & yet these barefaced hypocrites expect Russia to tolerate this same situation on their doorstep? Putin has tolerated America’s lies & demonisation through its Political, MIC & supported by its hysterical, corrupt & devious Mainstream Media for far to long now & he’s had a gutsful of it! No World Leader or Nation should have to put up with America’s nonsense & warmongering ways! Putin’s called time out on this Russiabashing crap & come to the realisation that America can’t be reasoned with, bargained with or appeased! The only thing the US understand’s is Might & Power & Russia has with Putin’s address, announced very clearly in a language & a warning that America needs to take heed of, that Russia is BACK as a credible World Power & that it won’t be ignored, messed around with or bullied by America’s insane, Empire of Dirt (thanks Johnny Cash for that line)?

    • mike k
      March 5, 2018 at 6:51 pm

      Putin is like a grandmaster chess player. You think your position is dominant until just at the right moment he makes his move, and you realize you are checkmated!

    • March 5, 2018 at 8:21 pm

      If you are not a millionaire, you dont get to sit on the sidelines and talk…If youre not a billionaire, you dont get to play…

      We need to start throwing stuff into Boston Harbor again…any suggestions on what(or who)?

      regards

      D

      • mike k
        March 5, 2018 at 8:59 pm

        How about tossing all the oligarchs and their stooges in the drink? There’s really not that many of them compared to the rest of us.

        • E. Leete
          March 6, 2018 at 10:58 am

          you have to get rid of the system that erects oligarchs or the next and the next and the next are waiting in the wings

          a just cap on personal fortunes is required to end the worlds’ needless suffering

          the cure for all ills is in the one medicine humans can not be talked into taking

          I think nobody wants peace and plenty for all

      • E. Leete
        March 6, 2018 at 10:55 am

        murder the bad (self-harming, diabolically stupid) idea to allow unlimited personal fortunes on this planet or you’ll always be needing to repeatedly have bloody revolutions when the next batch of gigarich grind the faces of everyone under the wheels of their moneypowermania juggernaut

        when do people snap awake to history: after every bloody revolution in the past, extremes of wealthpower have regrown – – and humanity puts itself through yet another round of needless suffering caused by bestowing tyrannous wealthpowers on 1% who make slaves and cannonfodder of the rest – – all because the people did not change their idea from having everyone go after all the wealth and power they can manage to get, to having everyone go after getting fairshares, no more and no less?

        we have organized ourselves, our societies, precisely for the insanity we are reaping, but nobody sees it!

  11. mike k
    March 5, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    It is also true that the silence of the MSM about the new Russian nuclear armaments reflects the Deep State’s desire that the American People not hear much about that. Otherwise it would seem very strange that such a historically important announcement would have received so little coverage.

  12. Martin - Swedish citizen
    March 5, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    Thanks for a very interesting thorough article and also very interesting comments!

  13. mike k
    March 5, 2018 at 4:45 pm

    That Putin’s “manifesto” incudes many measures to benefit the ordinary citizens of Russia, is of course ignored by the propaganda arms of the Deep State, who are only concerned with demonizing him.

  14. Drew Hunkins
    March 5, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    There were two points in very recent history when the Putin vilification operations really began to escalate in the West:

    1.) The anti Putin propaganda campaign ramped up in 2006 when Kemp & Edwards published their CFR paper in which they made the absurd charge that Putin was “rolling back democracy” in Russia. What a sick joke. They made no such breathless accusations during the rape and pillage of Russia during the 1990s when j. Sachs and his Harvard boyz provided the intellectual muscle for the massive exploitation and plunder. No, it was only when Putin put a halt to a lot of the looting and capital flight that the Western liberal intellectual class became alarmed and proceeded to assail and decry the Putin “regime” ( it is almost always deemed a regime, rarely is it referred to as the Putin “administration.”)

    2.) Then the anti Putin propaganda campaign began to escalate even more so in 2013 when Putin pulled off one of the finest diplomatic moves of the last 30 years: he talked Obama down from bombing Damascus to remove Assad. This made Putin enemy number one in the eyes of the Zio-Saudi-Washington militarist Terror Network. They wanted ever so desperately to topple Assad and turn Syria into a wasteland and miserable failed state. They were apoplectic.

    From here on out the Rachelle Maddows & Masha Gessens were off and running, fomenting Russophobia and putting the world on the brink of thermo nuclear Armageddon.

    • Joe Tedesky
      March 5, 2018 at 3:32 pm

      Drew your recollections will fuel the conversation, as your memory is excellent. Joe

      • Drew Hunkins
        March 5, 2018 at 4:01 pm

        Thanks for the kind words Mr. Tedesky. I always enjoy reading your posts on CR.

    • ToivoS
      March 5, 2018 at 3:56 pm

      Good points Drew. But we should note that the anti-Putin propaganda began within the first year of his presidency after he began stripping power and properties from Khodorovsky and Berezinski who had looted former Soviet state enterprises for their own personal gain. Note that Berezinski had purchased some London newspapers that launched these attacks.

      • Drew Hunkins
        March 5, 2018 at 4:01 pm

        Good point ToivoS. After Putin rightfully went after some of the oligarchic exploiters it prompted the silly Kemp & Edwards CFR paper.

    • Abe
      March 5, 2018 at 5:50 pm

      Excellent points, Drew.

      Back in 2003, Russia opposed the US invasion of Iraq. Russia joined France and Germany and said the United Nations Security Council could not ignore the fact that “substantial progress” had been made since chief weapons inspector Hans Blix and International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Mohamed El Baradei visited Iraq. Russia also had oil interests in Iraq and Iraq owed Russia over $8 billion in debt at the time.

      The Israel-Saudi-US Axis “regime change” apparatus has been striving to dismantle Russia ever since.

      • Drew Hunkins
        March 5, 2018 at 9:12 pm

        Very astute observation Abe.

        Putin did indeed come out prior to the Iraq war and did the smart and humanitarian thing: he vociferously denounced the Zio-Washington-militarist’s splendid little war.

  15. ToivoS
    March 5, 2018 at 3:26 pm

    Gilbert Doctorow yet again provides an excellent summary of Russian life and politics. He points out the ambiguity in Putin’s use of the term “allies” in this speech. I found it quite disturbing that Russia is willing to use nuclear weapons in defense of their “allies”. It is bad enough that the US has taken on that burden with respect to the 27 NATO members, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan (?), the five eyes and who knows what else. So who are these allies that Putin refers to?

    Let me venture a guess. The obvious countries are former members of the Soviet Union that have entered into favorable agreements with Russia — i.e. Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Uzbekistan and maybe some other central Asian republics. I guess it excludes Moldova, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan which have for one reason or another found themselves in the no-mans-land. I certainly hope Putin is not thinking of Syria or Iran — that could end up with all out nuclear war with the US. I doubt it includes China since China already has its own nuclear deterrent.

    The US is already fully entangled in its alliances. Let us hope Russia does not do the same.

    • Joe Tedesky
      March 5, 2018 at 3:30 pm

      I was thinking more like Iran and Syria, and possibly Venezuela and N Korea, is what Putin was referring too. I could be wrong, but what do you think. Joe

      • ToivoS
        March 5, 2018 at 3:44 pm

        Joe, definitely not Venezuela. That falls into Monroe doctrine land. We know what almost happened in 1962 when Khrushkov blundered into Cuba. My list of countries that are covered inside US alliances should have included all of South America, even if any of those countries do not agree.

        • Joe Tedesky
          March 5, 2018 at 5:05 pm

          Toivos your stating Venezuela will not be protected by Russia because of the Monroe Act is no doubt correct, but with how the U.S. has ignored every treaty and promise made to the Russians, I would imagine Putin would not have a hard time correcting this situation by his deciding to add Venezuela onto his list of allies. If Maduro, or another Venezuela leader were to pull an Assad and invite Russia into their unsettled sovereign country then this too would be a position to study.

          Although Toivos you are probably more right on this than I, I will point to the vast amount of oil Venezuela has, as an inspiration to the likes of Exxon-Mobil as being big enough to form a Central American Coalition who then could invade Venezuela under the protection of the U.S.. Something like what our CIA and the Pentagon did with ISIS in Syria, is what I picture.

          If the U.S. or Exxon-Mobil were to capture all of the Venezuela oil reserves then Iran and Russia could be drained of their oil down to dry rock, and Exxon-Mobil would still have 62 billion barrels of Venezuelan oil left. Would the U.S. get behind such a venture? Well why not, because if you reference to all of the stupid things the U.S. has done with it’s military and military proxies over these last few years, then anything is conceivable by my estimation. Plus I think Trump sees nothing but oil in these proxy wars of choice, and with that I see Trump’s eye’s lighting up at just the mention of the oil capacity that Venezuela has.

          I’m not arguing with you Toivos, I’m just trying to prime the debate with all of what surrounds our world these days. I’m not discounting anything, because anything in my mind is now on the table. Joe

          https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2244rank.html

      • March 5, 2018 at 3:45 pm

        Joe…somehow I believe Putin intentionally wishes to keep the term”allies” ambiguous but as you mention Venezuela, here’s a recent interview with the Venezuelan foreign minister on RT that you might find interesting:
        (he discusses friendly assistance from Russia& China in the light of sanctions)
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlIEcccML50

        • geeyp
          March 5, 2018 at 5:19 pm

          I watched that interview last night and here was a calm, measured individual with all of his sanity intact. Very refreshing to hear a government related official with common sense.

          • March 5, 2018 at 6:08 pm

            Glad to hear you watched it Geeyp! Asfrin Rattansi does some great interviews. Now that Jeremy Corbyn is a real threat to the establishment it’s good to keep up with what’s happening in the U.K.

        • Joe Tedesky
          March 5, 2018 at 5:31 pm

          Boy thanks Bob that was one informative video, but I should probably have not watched it, because now I’m even more to the belief that Venezuela is key to the geopolitics of this world, more than ever.

          I stated in my reply to Toivos of how much oil Venezuela has, as you could read that comment of mine, but with the mention of Boris Johnson and the UK’s interest in Venezuela, all I can see is a bad moon a rising. Russia would do well to protect Venezuela if for no other reason, but to protect their own Russian oil distribution. If Venezuela should fall into the Exxon-Mobil, BP/Amoco, oil interests then Russia and Iran would be behind the eight ball with their own oil sales prices, as I’m sure these US/UK oil corporations would sell their Venezuelan oil at unheard of rock bottom prices in order to bring Russia and Iran down. So Russia and Iran, may find helping Venezuela out to be in their best interest.

          Like I told Toivos I’m probably not even in the ball park, but there again there is nothing new to my being off on another field of play. Thanks for the video it was really a help to try and get my head wrapped around all of this geopolitical goings on. Joe

          • March 5, 2018 at 5:48 pm

            Joe,…Your observation about the price of oil and Russia’s common interest in the welfare of Venezuela is very perceptive in my opinion. Thanks as always for your tireless wisdom.

          • geeyp
            March 6, 2018 at 2:14 am

            Mr.H: I wanted to respond to your second comment. My screen doesn’t show a reply option directly to you, so I will reply here. Yes, I have watched many episodes of “Going Underground” and Asfrin Rattansi does a great interview always paying attention to the answers. Stellar production values also add to most RT shows. I have looked forward to Jeremy C. as the next UK prime minister. I can’t speak for the natives of the UK. From across the pond, though, it would sure satisfy to see the status quo get rocked! He couldn’t do any more harm than what has already taken place and he very well could prove a healthy alternative ( even though he is a veteran on the political scene).

          • March 6, 2018 at 1:14 pm

            Geeyp: I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments. BTW, I misspelled Rattanasi”s first name, which should be Afshin(Persian) as I was concentrating on spelling his rather difficult last name which leads up to a rather funny story as my wife and I recently visited Mexico City where you can dine at a fine restaurant for 1/3 the price of the states. As the restaurant was crowded and my family name is also difficult to spell I gave my first name to the maitre d’ as we waited, thinking that it was much simpler. She spelled it with two o’s(Boob). We had a good laugh. All the best, BoobH

    • Joe Tedesky
      March 5, 2018 at 3:37 pm
    • mike k
      March 5, 2018 at 4:39 pm

      I think Putin was fully conscious of leaving the question of who Russia considered it’s “allies” vague and undefined. Let those who would mess with the friends of Russia beware, and leave it for them to worry about that question.

  16. March 5, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    Gilbert Doctorow: thanks for a thorough analysis of Putin’s “manifesto”. I find the balance he’s trying to achieve between the public & private sectors interesting. The issues are quite different from those we have here in the U.S. where “privatization” is equivalent to the cannibalization of the public sector. Obviously privatization in Russia involves more government oversight and I’m wondering just how that’s achieved. Are there institutions that can provide safeguards when the country no longer has the current strong leadership?
    The technological emphasis on development is a worthy goal but what effects will this have on employment? Will the 15% personal flat tax be sufficient to compensate for unemployment? I am assuming there are fewer loopholes that allow the oligarchs to squirrel profits abroad.

  17. jo6pac
    March 5, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    When he’s done fixing Russia could he come to Amerika because by the time the trumpster is done with Amerika we will be down just like the old USSR or lower.

    Thanks GD

    • Annie
      March 5, 2018 at 4:05 pm

      Joe6pac I always think it’s best to see what is, has, been going on as not the work of a single individual. The previous presidents and their administrations set precedents from which Trump and his administration can build on. That is true not only in areas of immigration, and other policies, but the cold war itself, escalated under the Obama administration in which the military machine played a very significant role, as did our national security state. Previous administrations have also created precedents from which we move in a particular direction. Under Bush/Cheney we signed off of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty..There’s a lot of blame to go around. If we go down there are many who will be responsible. I believe Trump was sincere in wanting to get along with Russia, and the backlash was swift, so lets not single him out as the main culprit.

      • mike k
        March 5, 2018 at 4:34 pm

        Trump is a main factor in our plunge into darkness. He has carried the idiocy of his predecessors to new depths. Slashing the tax rate of the rich, increasing the military budget beyond even the outrageous request of the congress, withdrawing from the Paris climate accords, arming the Saudis up the gazoo, moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, etc, etc……

        • Annie
          March 5, 2018 at 5:23 pm

          I’m not defending Trump’s policies, but I see him as no more dangerous then the Republican party itself. That was Ryan’s tax plan that he passed, and the party does represent the top 1% in this country. I do not believe for one moment he’s doing anything other then what his party demands. I think the focus on a single individual detracts from the fact that the entire government is corrupt on many levels. When corporate America and the military industrial complex is calling the shots I’m willing to put a lot of blame on their shoulders and the shoulders of all those in politics who do their bidding. Lets not forget Israel, where I heard Richard Perle claim on a you-tube video that no one in American politics can be elected without Israel’s approval.

        • Realist
          March 5, 2018 at 5:41 pm

          Mike, Annie, Joe… What’s the simplest explanation for why every candidate that gets elected president immediately reverses course on all of his campaign rhetoric and endorses all the policies of his predecessor which he ran against?

          Slick Willy suddenly became a warmongering economic neoliberal who struck down all the New Deal banking laws and invaded not just a “dangerous” “Islamofascist” country, but a liberal Christian European one–first time since WWII. Dubya, characterised as a “moderate” who eschewed “nation building” by the media, brings back the Crusades under the guise of a global war on “terror,” all on false pretenses. Obomber, recipient of the Nobel “Peace” Prize, champion of the working man and minority rights, picks up the spear in several new, mostly previously stable countries, blows off his “socialist” campaign rhetoric and presides over a police shooting gallery directed at lives that don’t matter. For his denouement, he not only rekindles the Cold War with Russia, he stokes it into a conflagration. Trump said he wanted to make “deals,” do business with Russia, not fight it, yet his every policy in the foreign arena, even that being presided over by his supposedly “Russia-friendly” big oil tycoon secretary of state Tillerson, is on a trajectory towards war–war with Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, maybe even Venezuela!

          See the pattern? Every one of these gentlemen gets an orientation session before they take the oath of office. Guess who gives it and guess what they are told? After that, they lose all capacity for free will and independent judgement. It’s as if they receive instant clarity. We’ve always been at war with both East Asia and Euroasia, only they never realised it. The machine grinds on without the slightest hesitation.

          For all we know, all the bother and blather that emanates from the Capitol building as counterpoint to the White House Follies is just so much drama for effect, to make us think we have a democratic Republic and elected leaders pursuing the best interests of its citizens. Guys like Lindsey Graham and Chuck Schumer are polished professional entertainers. If my words ever gained any wide currency across the land, I’d get a quick trip to Room 101 too. The reality remains that the “real news,” on a handful of websites such as this, is so thoroughly and efficiently suppressed by those who control the data stream that the insiders who pull all the strings couldn’t care less. We are just a minute collection of flaky conspiracy freaks. They control the matrix and we live in an underground bunker.

          • March 5, 2018 at 6:10 pm

            Unfortunately…i agree…If we cant kill Citizens United, Patriot Act and the problems with our voting system. and soon…its going to get much worse…fast…

            regards

            D

          • Joe Tedesky
            March 5, 2018 at 9:13 pm

            I would suggest we all move to the underground libraries, but Catskills lounge chairs in the middle of the road may prove to be more efficient, and a better choice.

          • Realist
            March 6, 2018 at 3:34 am

            Well, they called the underground hideout for remaining at large humans “Zion” in the movie, but that might have some bad connotations for a lot of readers.

          • Skip Scott
            March 6, 2018 at 8:51 am

            Great rant Realist, and very true. I finally read James Douglass’ “JFK and the Unspeakable” about a month ago, and it seems to me that his assassination was the real turning point, and the bas**rds have been in charge ever since. Pretty soon they’ll be taking away our “sound- proof, free- speech zone” and shipping us off to room 101.

          • Joe Tedesky
            March 6, 2018 at 10:05 am

            I agree Skip the JFK assassination was one of those monumental regretful moments of change. Joe

      • John P
        March 5, 2018 at 9:29 pm

        The Mueller investigation cannot be expected to divulge what it has found whilst it is still probing a very deep and entangled multinational mess. There is the growing possibility that Kushner, needing a lot of money to support his business in a mortgage crisis found money from several sources. Russia – for the relief from sanctions, Israel – the recognition of Jerusalem, and possibly war with Iran, Saudi Arabia – UAE – weapons and support. Poor Qatar, opted out of monetary support and one week later was under the boot of both Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Coincidence ? We’ll see in time. They did in time put funds into a business that helps Kushner. Every politician is a chess player so one has to be cautious.
        Timelines are consistent with Steele. Trump’s stupid comments suggest he knew a lot (I would expect he knew of Kushner’s problems). So lets see where it goes before we draw conclusions about such a complexity of relationships. Money talks big with the Trump and clan.

        See articles:
        Slate:
        L’affaire Kushner
        The Nugget Hidden in the Schiff Memo

        The Intercept:
        Jared Kushner’s Real-Estate Firm Sought Money Directly From Qatar Weeks Before the Blockade
        Jared Kushner – Qatar Redux: Robert Mueller Enters the Fray

        This is my opinion and I’m not going to look for replies in view of past abusive comments.

        • Nancy
          March 6, 2018 at 3:23 pm

          Kushner’s ties to Israel are much more concerning than those to Russia. Strangely, it’s never mentioned in the corporate media.

      • March 9, 2018 at 12:19 am

        Well said, Annie. America’s ( and the world’s ) problems are much older than Trump’s administration. I think Trump was sincere, too, but the people of the US and the West weren’t buying the War on Terror anymore as a justification for militarised capitalism, so it was time to resurrect the Cold War.

  18. Joe Tedesky
    March 5, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    I would like to thank Gilbert Doctorow for his keeping us all posted on the unfolding events in Putin’s modern day Russia.

    With Putin’s introduction to how Russia has been hard at work to equalize the nuclear parity between Russia and the U.S. I’m hoping that this parity is respected and observed by all who may possess these awful weapons of annihilation. Where some in the U.S. see a half crazed Russian leader shaking his nuclear stick in our American face I see it differently. I see Putin going beyond the level nuclear playing field, as his way of protecting his surrounded country, but even more so I see with Putin’s announcement an advantage for all great countries who so possess these nuclear weapons to now sit down and talk with this Russian leader. After all Putin made this gesture at the end of his presentation. So let’s talk.

    • Joe Tedesky
      March 5, 2018 at 3:24 pm
    • Joe Tedesky
      March 5, 2018 at 3:50 pm

      This article goes into detail of what Russia is up against, and how Putin’s message will keep it alive.

      http://www.unz.com/article/the-implications-of-russias-new-weapons/

      • Realist
        March 6, 2018 at 3:24 am

        You read that article and you have to ask yourself, what long term goal did Washington think it was pursuing when it decided 30 years ago to continue targeting Russia as an enemy rather than drafting a true peace with them after the end of the Cold War? Think of all the money squandered on weapons development and lives lost in all the ruthless proxy wars. We could have beaten our swords into ploughshares and spent the peace dividend on a plethora of domestic needs. Moreover, we wouldn’t have rung up such a massive public debt that it threatens the solvency of the government, the value of the dollar and the functioning of the economy. We’d have Russia as a friend and partner, buying and selling with them, stimulating both economies. We’d have access to their resources, they’d have access to our technology for tapping those resources. Seems like it would have been win/win at every level. We like to gloat that their economy, like their military spending, is only a small fraction of our own. They are not a world superpower, as Putin has repeatedly admitted–without any aspirations of filling the job of world hegemon.

        So, why were we afraid of making a true peace? That they’d outcompete us at neoliberal capitalism, a corrupt game that we invented and had only about a century headstart on them? (Okay, I know China has done so, but they have the advantage of a truly massive market of nearly 1.5 billion strong, but Russia has less than half our population, much of it spread thin across a wild undeveloped landmass.) Seems like there’s generally the smart way and the stupid way to do anything, but Washington always finds a third, crazy self-destructive way. Now, after thirty years of pouring all our treasure into guns rather than butter, to confront a people who want to be our friends and partners, we find we still don’t have the tools to crush them like insects–at least not without vaporising the rest of civilisation, including ourselves, in the process.

        So, what’s the kneejerk American response to this problem of our own device? Obviously, we need to hitch up our dungarees, print a lot more federal reserve notes, borrow the new loot from the fed, and squander it on a new arms race. After all, a new Cold War just wouldn’t seem right without a new arms race!

        When you think about it, this just might have been a winning hand played by Putin, since the American economy and federal budget is, according to many experts, getting darn close to collapse without further perturbations of this magnitude. After the Trumpster’s previous big bet on military spending on the heels of Obomber’s trillion dollar ante for new nukes, if he is pressured to go all in against Putin’s bet by the Shadow Government, this play probably determines the global economic winner… which will be… wait for it… China. For the longest time, China has not raised the ante on nukes, standing pat on a mere few hundred warheads rather investing in ship-killer and satellite-killer missile systems. They never saw nukes as the game-winning strategy… because it can’t be… use ’em and you lose everything, even if you “win.” They are basically there to teach that lesson to Washington if it ever launches a first strike.

      • Realist
        March 6, 2018 at 3:31 am

        You read that article and you have to ask yourself, what long term goal did Washington think it was pursuing when it decided 30 years ago to continue targeting Russia as an enemy rather than drafting a true peace with them after the end of the Cold War? Think of all the money squandered on weapons development and lives lost in all the ruthless proxy wars. We could have beaten our swords into ploughshares and spent the peace dividend on a plethora of domestic needs. Moreover, we wouldn’t have rung up such a massive public debt that it threatens the solvency of the government, the value of the dollar and the functioning of the economy. We’d have Russia as a friend and partner, buying and selling with them, stimulating both economies. We’d have access to their resources, they’d have access to our technology for tapping those resources. Seems like it would have been win/win at every level. We like to gloat that their economy, like their military spending, is only a small fraction of our own. They are not a world superpower, as Putin has repeatedly admitted–without any aspirations of filling the job of world hegemon.

        So, why were we afraid of making a true peace? That they’d outcompete us at neoliberal capitalism, a corrupt game that we invented and had only about a century headstart on them? (Okay, I know China has done so, but they have the advantage of a truly massive market of nearly 1.5 billion strong, but Russia has less than half our population, much of it spread thin across a wild undeveloped landmass.) Seems like there’s generally the smart way and the stupid way to do anything, but Washington always finds a third, crazy self-destructive way. Now, after thirty years of pouring all our treasure into guns rather than butter, to confront a people who want to be our friends and partners, we find we still don’t have the tools to crush them like insects–at least not without vaporising the rest of civilisation, including ourselves, in the process.

        So, what’s the kneejerk American response to this problem of our own device? Obviously, we need to hitch up our dungarees, print a lot more federal reserve notes, borrow the new loot from the fed, and squander it on a new arms race. After all, a new Cold War just wouldn’t seem right without a new arms race!

        When you think about it, this just might have been a winning hand played by Putin, since the American economy and federal budget is, according to many experts, getting darn close to collapse without further perturbations of this magnitude. After the Trumpster’s previous big bet on military spending on the heels of Obomber’s trillion dollar ante for new nukes, if he is pressured to go all in against Putin’s bet by the Shadow Government, this play probably determines the global economic winner… which will be… wait for it… China. For the longest time, China has not raised the ante on nukes, standing pat on a mere few hundred warheads rather investing in ship-killer and satellite-killer missile systems. They never saw nukes as the game-winning strategy… because it can’t be… use ’em and you lose everything, even if you “win.” They are basically there to teach that lesson to Washington if it ever launches a first strike.

        • Brad Owen
          March 6, 2018 at 5:36 am

          The answer to your question of why we do things the crazy, self-destructive way, is that WE are not in charge of our own government and domestic and foreign policies. Only the LaRouche folks fully get this…and this statement will probably get whisked away to the moderator’s cornfield. No matter. It’s a statement for the record, the Akashic one, if no other. Our policies are designed by the Old World Oligarchy (mainly in Britain, as we are their child, but also in the rest of Old Europe) specifically to destroy us, or rather destroy the threat to Oligarchy that our revolution represented. What even the LaRouche people don’t get is that The Intervention has started. WWII and the atom bomb was the last straw. The previous fifty years before that, of suppressing the inspired gifts of creativity developed by such inventors as Keely, Tesla, T Townsend Brown, Viktor Schauberg, and many others, to allow peaceful progress and population increase without threatening the environment, was already an alarm bell signaling a necessary Intervention. Steps are now being taken the lead the World to becoming a Class One World Civilization, as the rest of humanoid life (all upright beings of two arms, two legs and a head on a torso…a universal Lifeform shared by all, from gods and angels to cave-dwelling ape-men) understands that term. China leads the way with the New Silk Road, Russia their flanker, insuring the Old World Oligarchy can’t use their pawn America to destroy them and ourselves in the process, and Trump will pursue the takedown of the Old World Oligarchy which is seeing its last days of its reign on Earth.

          • Brad Owen
            March 6, 2018 at 5:39 am

            This, BTW, is the big picture CN, so quit with the minutiae already.

        • Joe Tedesky
          March 6, 2018 at 10:02 am

          Yeah the U.S. is like the rookie player living off the reputation of the older team who won the ring. On top of that the U.S. spreads it’s kindness and help like a Good Samaritan who after they carried your limp body home, you woke up to fine all the good crystal and China is gone, plus the kids were sold to the human traffickers, as the not so cool Samaritan left an invoice on the dresser cabinet with a note of warning telling you to stay inside because they have you surrounded by their swat police. If that metaphor isn’t enough, then think of the Good Samaritan trying to force you out and replace you with that underserving first year rookie. Putin did the right thing, as any therapy group will tell you, the first form to helping a love one find a path to recovery starts with tough love. Let’s hope our whack jobs in DC feel the love. Joe

        • Realist
          March 6, 2018 at 8:20 pm

          Why did this comment of mine appear twice, you may be asking yourself? I initially posted it at 3:24 AM as shown, but it immediately disappeared when I tried to edit it! Just gone. No retrieving it by going back or refreshing the page. Luckily, this time I still had it copied to memory and re-posted that. That is the 3:31 AM post, not lost down the memory hole this time. Now, this evening, I see that the original disappeared copy shows up on-line. I’m not a computer geek, so I don’t know how that happens. I’ve never seen disappeared stuff come back from the dead before.

      • Skip Scott
        March 6, 2018 at 8:41 am

        Thanks Joe, for two really good links. I’ve forwarded them to some friends and family.

    • geeyp
      March 5, 2018 at 5:13 pm

      Part one domestic, part two foreign affairs. Clear and concise for the people. If the United Nations, which occasionally does the right thing, gets it now in regards their mandate to promote peace and tranquillity throughout the world, let it know that President Vladimir Putin did his part. It truly is a shame that Vasily Churkin isn’t around to keep Nicki Hoeky in line. Some people will never get it. I appreciate Mr. Doctorow’s expansion on this theme after watching an RT.com “Crosstalk” episode touching on it.

    • Realist
      March 5, 2018 at 5:49 pm

      In a sane objective USA, Dr. Doctorow would be the chief foreign correspondent stationed in Moscow for CBS News. Basically, he’d be taking on the duties performed by Prof. Stephen F. Cohen back in the 80’s and 90’s, during and after the first Cold War. The public would get the truth and a balanced perspective, not propaganda, yellow journalism and Russophobic warmongering. Actual facts would be revealed and policy would have to square with the facts. But, we Americans don’t live in such a sane, deliberate, logical world any more, do we?

    • Sam F
      March 6, 2018 at 2:55 pm

      To the moderator:
      There appears to be an inappropriate moderation process in effect. I make only moderate comments.
      Perhaps a troll spoofed my pseudonym to cause problems? The email address should be checked also.
      Or perhaps, the “troll” response against a reply to my recent comment, was mistakenly blamed on my comment.

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