US policy vis a vis Russia reverted back to the one it had toward the ‘Communist enemy’ when it became apparent that Boris Yeltsin’s successor, Vladimir Putin, would not allow Russia’s family jewels - its oil, gas, water, and other precious resources — to be siphoned off into the pockets of oligarchs as part of the US’s globalization project.
Demonization of Russia is not only about ownership, but about leadership. While admitting, as Vladimir Putin did recently at the St Petersburg forum, that the US is the only superpower, the Russians do not think it is a good idea for one country to rule the world, and believe their more humane outlook is shared by more people.
Russia’s stance is not about power itself, as the US media implies, but about how it should be used in the modern world. Time and again, though unreported in the US media, Vladimir Putin has spelled out his vision of a multi-polar world, in which every country enjoys full sovereignty while cooperating with others. In the nineteen sixties, Czechoslovakia pioneered ‘socialism with a human face’, and Euro-communism appeared in Western Europe. Vladimir Putin’s ideology could be called capitalism with a human face, which is yet another way of saying ‘social democracy’.
Trump says wages are too high, while Hillary has agreed to Bernie’s demand to ‘phase in’ a minimum wage of fifteen dollars an hour. (However, by the time that rate is achieved, inflation will have made it no better than today’s seven.) Twenty years after the end of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Putin’s domestic appeal is partly due to the fact that he did not throw the socialist baby out with the bathwater. While he has been given a variety of labels by pundits, my contention that he considers himself a social democrat was vindicated when I read Michail Gorbachev’s latest book……… in which he mentions the public’s positive reaction to the birth of a Russian democratic party, and Putin retorts: “But we are already a social democratic country!”
Considering the long list of countries the US has either attacked or undermined, US-led globalization has little in common with a humane capitalism. It does not focus on producers and consumers, with every-one entitled to education and health care, but on using money to produce more money, while large swathes of humanity become redundant.
Whether or not Putin’s capitalism would appeal to Trump is an open question, but on the surface it would appear more compatible with deal-making than is the manipulation of money, however passionate that activity may be to some. More importantly, we cannot know how Trump would combine making international deals with fascism at home.
What is crucial is that he is not interested in making war on Russia, nor, presumably anyone else. He suggests as much when he says that the US should not be paying for its allies’ defense. As stated in Parti I of this series, another area in which he and Vladimir Putin appear to see eye to eye is nationalism, which Putin calls ‘sovereignization’. Nationalism’s appeal to the American religious right will also be welcomed by the Russian President, although American progressives will be less sanguine, and Trump himself has been a prime exemplar of the dissolution Putin associates with Western society.
As others have noted, notwithstanding twenty-first century technology, we’re repeating the nineteen thirties, when the age-old conflict between the few and the many led to the most dangerous world war in history. Hillary’s clearly inferred intention to wage war on Russia will spell The End of History, but not as US Neocons imagine it.