Michael Hudson on the Ongoing Economic War

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Yves here. Michael Hudson provided a short update on RT (yes, it’s still operating) about how the economic war with Russia is accelerating the shift away from US-led hegemony to multipolarity.

However, twp things worth noting:

A major change in the economic order is often accompanied by a financial crisis. Some of the explanations of the Great Depression focus on how efforts to restore the gold standard after it broke down in World War I were destructive; others give prominent play to the slow end of the sterling as the currency for trade and the difficulties the US had in changing from being export led to consumption led. The period before World War I featured extensive international trade, which broke down and only in the last 20 years or so has approached that level. The sanctions against Russia are producing changes in trading patterns and sourcing that are breaking supply chains and may lead to more of a focus on domestic markets (witness grain producing countries clamping down on exports).

What is happening with NATO is very much in play. The West smugly thought the Russian invasion of Ukraine would make NATO stronger, as proven by the expected entry of Sweden and Finland. But shockingly no one consulted Erdogan, when Turkey could lay claim to being the most important member by virtue of its location and by having NATO’s second largest army. Not getting all NATO members on board before inviting Sweden and Finland was rank presumption.

Erdogan may be playing the hardest of hardball (he’s sent in a list of big asks), since this remarkable screw-up puts NATO in a desperate position. But he may also genuinely be extremely insulted and thus not amenable to negotiating any of his demands. Oh, and Croatia has also said it’s inclined not to go along and Lega Nord’s Matteo Salvani has also voiced opposition. This means the air of inevitability the deal once had is slipping. Mind you, NATO will be very motivated to get the entry process back on track, but the outcome isn’t certain, a development that seemed inconceivable a couple of weeks ago.

Originally published at RT

Peter Scott, RT anchor: Joining us now is Michael Hudson, economist and author of “Super-Imperialism” and the recently-published “Destiny of Civilization”. Welcome to the programme, Michael.

Michael Hudson: It’s good to be back.

PS: Let’s say all these European programmes like the REPOWER Programme come into effect, how do you expect the EU standing to be on the stage after that?

MH: Well, the EU standing will be squeezed economically. It was trying to be a powerhouse in the world economy but in the last month the euro has been declining steadily against the dollar and it’s on the way to one dollar per euro. That’s because it’s having to pay much foreign exchange for energy, for food, for weapons. It’s shrinking in terms of other economies.

PS: Where do you think the EU’s standing will be in relation to powerhouses such as China?

MH: Well, it’s obviously out of the game. Instead of putting its own interests first, it’s really putting the US interests first. It’s acting more like a satellite of the United States thank trying to its own destiny. The whole plan of the EU 20 years ago was to get rich by investing in Russia, investing in China and a mutual exchange. And now it’s decided to stop that. The US has absorbed Europe. The war in Ukraine is a war by the US primarily to pull Europe into the US orbit, prevent European transactions with Russia or China. So Western Europe is being left out, while Russia, China and Eurasia are going with the rest of Asia. Europe is simply going to be left behind. It’s losing its export markets, it’s being squeezed and -as you just mentioned- it’s pushed up the retirement age because it’s spending its budget on replenishing American military arms instead of investing in industry as it had been doing since 1945.

PS: You did indeed write that Europe has ceased to be an independent state. You’ve almost mentioned that the United States wanted to sever EU trade ties with Russia and China. How exactly did you get to that conclusion and do you think that this alleged US plan is succeeding?

MH: Well, I simply read the speeches of President Biden and his team. They’ve said that China is America’s number one enemy. If you’re going to call a country your number one existential enemy, you’re not going to be increasing your trade and mutual dependency with it. And it’s already insisted that its allies sanction -meaning boycott- Russian sports not only of oil and agriculture but of titanium, helium and all of the other exports that Russia has been making. Europe is been following US directions not to have contact with Russia and without contact with Russia it’s not going to have contact with China because China sees that Europe is going to do to it exactly what it’s been doing to Russia.

PS: Obviously as a result of this current situation, for many years now, Russia and China have been growing closer diplomatically and economically. How do you see a global shift in power evolving over the next 5, 10 years or so?

MH: The current war is dividing the world into two parts. There’s going to be a US dollar area of the US, Europe and its satellites. And there’ll be a multipolarity; there’ll be a group of Russia, China together and basically they will be making their proposal of a different way of organising the world economic affairs to Africa, Latin America and other Asian countries. And other Asian countries, Latin America and the global south will see that it can get a better deal with Russia and China than it can get with the United States.

PS: On the flip side of that coin, one could argue that the existing situation, world order, has only been cemented by this war. You see NATO more aligned than ever, you see Europe more aligned than ever. You see Finland and Sweden on the brink, perhaps, of joining NATO. What would your response to this be, Michael?

MH: This integration of Europe into the United States sphere is like the new Berlin Wall. It’s isolated the US from the whole rest of the world. So instead of a victory for the United States it’s self-isolated itself because US strategists have realised that they’re losing the economic war with China, Russia and the whole group of emerging nations. All they can try to do is hold on to Europe as their one source of income to exploit from Europe what it can no longer get from any other country.

PS: As well as being a war on the ground, this is obviously an economic war. You yourself have noted that Nord Stream 2 (the gas pipeline from Russia to Germany) was one of the first victims of this crisis. To what extent are we now seeing an international conflict for energy resources? We obviously have the EU now weaning itself off Russian energy, the US trying to fill that gap to a certain extent with LNG. Then we have Russia now selling oil to India and China.

MH: The important thing about Russian oil being sold to India is that they’re sold in roubles, they’re no longer in dollars. The entire oil trade is now de-dollarised. It will be in roubles, in Chinese Yuan and in other currencies. But the dollar will be left out. The whole idea of dollar diplomacy, of the dollar’s free ride and monetary imperialism has ended. Everyone thought it would take 10 years for Russia, China and other countries to break away. Yet the United States itself has broken away from the other countries by grabbing the foreign exchange reserves of Afghanistan, Venezuela and now Russia. Nobody is going to trust to transact oil, trade and invest in dollars anymore because the United States can simply grab whatever money they want from countries that don’t agree to turn over their economic surplus to American investors and American traders. The United States has isolated itself. It’s shot itself in the foot.

PS: Talking of currencies, Russia is currently the most sanctioned country in the world but the rouble has recovered to way before pre-war levels. To what extent do you think the sanctions imposed on Russia by western countries have negatively impacted the countries imposing them?

MH: It’s certainly been very positive for Russia. The first sanctions were imposed on Russian agriculture like cheese from Lithuania. So now Russia produces its own cheese. When you sanction a country, you force that country to be more self-reliant on its own productions. President Putin has already said that now he’s going to be investing in import substitution. If he can’t buy imports from the United States now he’ll set up factories in Russia to produce themselves. There’s no reason Russia cannot do this and be its own industrial power. It doesn’t need the West. But the West still needs Russia. You mentioned Europe doing without Russian oil, and instead getting US liquefied natural gas. But it doesn’t have the ports to import that natural gas. It will have to spend $5 billion to build ports. It will take many years for this. What are Germany and Europe going to do for the next few years? Are they going to let their pipes freeze in their houses? So that their pipes break and flood the houses? Will the factories slow down? Already German fertiliser companies have closed down because they can’t get gas and it’s going to be years before they can get gas. Without fertiliser how are the Germans going to make their agricultural yields sustainable? Well, they won’t be. So Europe is going to increase its food deficit. It’s going to increase its energy deficit. It’s basically committing suicide on behalf of the Americans. I don’t know how long the political system of Europe can go along with leaders who represent America instead of their own national interests.

PS: Michael, I’m afraid we’re going to have to leave it there. We could easily discuss the shifting world order for hours to come but I’m afraid we’ve run out of time. That was author Michael Hudson. Thank you very much for joining us on RT.

MH: Good to see you. Thank you for having me.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    I regret to say that there will be a major economic decline for Europe and it will hit the EU like a freight train. And it did not have to be this way but was forced by the European elite that apparently has less idea of how economics work then me – and that is saying something. I can only see political chaos in the EU and not too long down the road either as politics is downstream of economics. Will there be other countries breaking away from the EU? Not if the EU has a say in the matter This being the case, those countries and peoples unhappy with how they have been made poverty-stricken will be looking for a target and when the EU says ‘Ruissiadidit’, I do not think that they will be believed. Expect a lot more right-wing governments like Hungary has who will put their own interests first. Scandinavia had a chance of steering clear but it looks like they want to sign up for this circus by going into NATO – and NATO and the EU are basically interchangeable. It still beggars belief that the EU willingly downgraded their economy for what exactly? Will they be surprised that when many EU companies fall into financial crisis, that the US will jump in and buy them up on the cheap? If somebody had told me that this was all goong to happen back in January, I would never, ever have believed it.

    1. marcel

      I think this was planned by Russia, and is its current ‘Phase 2’ operation. They just pretend to liberate Donbass, all the while watching Natostan crumble.
      In Ukraine, people end up seeing that people in Russian-controlled oblasts (regions) are fed, get electricity, salaries, roads and an education (eg a repeat of Crimea) while none of this was/is coming from Kiev. Even Ukranian POWs are better treated by the Russian army than the Ukranians themselves. Kherson and Zaporizhzhia oblast (are already willing to switch to Russian control.
      The world is now split in three (US and vassals, Russia and friends, and lots of countries on the sidelines), and Russia can wait until a multi-polar world takes shape. ‘friendly’ countries can get oil, gas, wheat or fertiliser, and unfriendly can buy them in rubles.
      Kids in UK and US are already going hungry or sick. Winter will be ‘interesting’ (in the Chinese sense).

      1. Sussman

        If you like watching combat footage, and street videos of various regions, interviews with population, RT.com is ad free and fabulous. Sure it’s Russian propaganda, but it’s well worth watching.

        You get a two second snippet on MSNBC, then a talking head telling you what you just saw, versus an ad-free half hour of the same thing on RT.

        Kids in our daughter’s high school are watching RT just to bug their parents. ::-))

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Weren’t kids in UK and US already going hungry or sick for years now? Because isn’t that the way the ruling UK US elites like to see kids going?

      3. Tom Bradford

        I think this was planned by Russia

        I find it hard to believe any planner would base anything on the assumption that your opposition will respond to you in ways so obviously and unnecessarily damaging to themselves. The Russians surely can’t have built such crass stupidity by the Europeans into their planning.

        Rather I’d argue the current mess in the Ukraine is the result of the Russians assuming that that the European leadership would have a sufficient number of brain-cells to rub together to work out where their best interests lay, lean on Zelenski to agree to a reasonable settlement over Donbass et al and let the whole affair be swept under the carpet in exchange for business as usual.

        1. albrt

          This seems reasonable, but unlike western leaders the Russians probably thought at least a little bit about Plan B, and realized that there could be significant upside if Plan A didn’t work.

          Although maybe I am not giving western leaders enough credit – they may indeed have recognized the significant black market profits to be made out of the disaster they were creating.

        2. Alan Roxdale

          I find it hard to believe any planner would base anything on the assumption that your opposition will respond to you in ways so obviously and unnecessarily damaging to themselves.

          It looks like the Russian’s have done exactly this. They seem to have been ready for sanctions across the board, and even seem to have avoided reeling from the seizure of their funds abroad. It would be no surprise to hear that they war-gamed these scenarios — which by the way were clearly canned pre-planned responses to be hoisted on ‘decision makers’ the moment the Russians took the bait in Ukraine.

          I believe the simplest explanation is: The US/UK launched a massive propaganda wave when Russia attacked, which got the EU to sign up to a lighting round of unprecedented sanctions that damaged their own economies as much as if not more so than Russia. This is why I think the decision to censor Russian media almost immediately at the wars outset is so significant. The sanction shockwave could not have passed as easily if the political class was surreptitiously sneaking peaks at RT in the evenings as they drafted bills that were going to sink their own futures. Every European country would have started slow-walking, as they are now.

          Things are not being driven by ‘stupidity’ so much as raw ‘propaganda’, on a scale the world is not familiar with.

    2. urdsama

      An excellent point about US companies buying up EU assets on the cheap.

      But there is an even worse option (at least in the eyes of the EU and US): China buys these companies. And while I’m sure many nations will try to block such takeovers, if your observation on political change is also correct, they may not be able to stop it.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Chinese and other companies may also be able to buy companies on the cheap. Probably One Ball One Chain Chinastan will buy as much or more of EUrope as the American Overclass will be able to buy.

        EUrope can become a cultural petting zoo for Chinese tourists. That will be a better fate than the Tibetanization planned for America and Australia.

    3. lance ringquist

      should we be surprised that the E.U. turned out the way it is. it was on the drawing boards of hitler and musolinni, its been called the forth Reich, and hitler wrote about free trade and the loss of sovereignty for other nations as the goal of fascism in mein kampf.

      what was surprising is how gullible, naive and stupid the left has become since the war. they signed onto it without even blinking. same stupid crap happened in germany, the liberals thought they could control the fascists.

      you would have thought frances mitterand would have seen this trap coming?

      1. deplorado

        Mitterrand was highly overrated, imho.

        I read once how he and a couple early Euro functionaries decided to pick the deficit threshold for the future EU: 3%, in honor of the Holy Trinity. True story.

        1. lance ringquist

          some idiots in the u.k. labor party did that to decades ago. that stupidity is still apparent today.

      1. podcastkid

        Wow, leads to a link labyrinth. Didn’t you mention the Einstein/I Ching book? [now I can’t find where you linked it, ha!] The point of view is I Ching is/was one math among other maths?

        At this time in my life it looks like Yang is thinking one can in books effectively exhort others to create themselves (not that I think this book you mention is a case in point). While Yin doesn’t presume “man” [humans] starts out “a nothing” (maybe karma & enneagrams contribute elements prior to one choosing anything?). Yin seems to write more articles than books. Boy, and Hudson was never clearer than he is in articles right about now, in interviews often…thank you Naked-C!

        I used to love and revere books. And still love libraries (the one nearby needs a printer that can receive commands from my laptop; don’t think the terminals are back up yet for public use). But at a certain age I think you learn more down in the Covid trenches.

        1. RobertC

          Apologies but that wasn’t me. I’m not an I Ching kinda guy.

          You seem to be enjoying your life. That’s wonderful.

          1. podcastkid

            No, I apologize. But I still can’t find that comment! There’s a huge mess’o commentary here!

            RC, if you don’t mind telling me…how does one get the url for a specific comment if one didn’t post it oneself?

            1. deplorado

              You select and right-click on the date and time info below the commenter’s name. The date and time line is hyperlinked, right-click and select “Copy link address”

              You can also see the whole URL with the #”comment number” if you hover the mouse over the date and time.

            2. RobertC

              kid — did you follow deplorado’s instructions? And they worked correctly as they should?

              1. podcastkid

                Man, they’re like gold [but, if I share too much TRK on Covid, wonder if I’ll get NC in trouble]. Punched in at 6 AM today. Doing it Tue & Wed too. Three nights of listen to audio, and conch out (P.M. & T.D….heard Corbyn last night).

              2. podcastkid

                It works.

                Shared your “The next two weeks may be…”

                Went in on wrong day, cause hadn’t looked at schedule.

    4. Oh

      The european nations (non friendly to Russia) have been repeatedly subjected to propoganda that Russia will invade them and thus the formation of NATO. Their fear of Russia is the reason that they comply with the sanctons. Their logic is “If we don’t resist we’ll be invaded and swallowed up by Russia”, This is very similar to the fear of the Indians of China and Pakistan and Japan of N. Korea. They’d rather sacrifice their econmies now than later.

  2. anon in so cal

    Russia is also aiming to produce its own perfumes and cosmetics.

    John Helmer reports that, “The war plan of the US and the European allies is destroying the Russian market for traditional French perfumes, the profits of the French and American conglomerates which own the best-known brands, the bonuses of their managers, and the dividends of their shareholders.”

    The largest of Givaudan’s shareholders is Bill Gates. With his 14%, plus the 10% controlled by Black Rock of New York and MFS of Boston, the US has effective control over the company.

    Now, according to the US war sanctions, trade with Russia and the required payment systems have been closed down, alongside the bans on the importation of the leading European perfumes. So in place of the French perfumers, instead of Givaudan, the Russian industry is reorganizing for its future growth with its own perfume brands manufactured from raw materials produced in Crimea and other regions, or supplied by India and China. Givaudan, L’Oréal (Lancome, Yves Saint Laurent), Kering (Balenciaga, Gucci), LVMH (Dior, Guerlain, Givenchy), Chanel, Estée Lauder, Clarins – they have all cut off their noses to spite the Russian face.


    1. michael hudson

      This is funny, but actually no joke.
      Ninna Khrushcheva, Kruschev’s daughter, is happily in the United States and gave an interview on Democracy Now (formerly progressive but now joining the Russia-bashing crowd) complaining that the very luxury goods that you mention are no longer available, and that this is devastating to Russia’s “middle class.” You may have to hear this to believe it.


      1. lance ringquist

        you have to wonder about brainless wonders like that. i wonder if gorby is not drooling yet, has he figured out what a mess he made yet. or is he just as corrupt and stupid as nafta billy clinton.

        at least bushs jr.’s gaffe was the truth, and he knows it.

        1. deplorado

          Thank you for this comment. Totally my sentiment, on both figures (three if you count clinton).

        2. deplorado

          I believe also Khrushchev’s son lives in the US (if he’s still alive). I think he is also some kind of Professor, in Connecticut (last I heard/read about him was a decade ago)

      2. anon in so cal

        That was shockingly awful.
        DN describes Ninna Khrushcheva as “Professor of international affairs, New School,” yet she does not seem to appear on their faculty list. Whatever happened to the New School, a home of “progressive scholarship”?

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        Its more “accidental protectionism” for Russia. Without an alien luxury goods presence, Russian luxury goods makers have an opportunity to learn how to make luxury-quality luxury goods. If the quality is there, the quality-motivated will be satisfied. Those motivated by a high-prestige foreign label will be disappointed.

        But if they are willing to pay a 500% tarriff on foreign luxury goods, this would be a way for the RussiaGov to collect some tarriff money from those of its subjects who would willing to pay a 500% tarriff to be able to say ” watch my prestige foreign brand rock on with its bad self.”

      4. Telee

        Yes, the interview with Ninna is amazing! Although she lives in the US she has no criticism of the way the US is handing this situation. All her observations are superficial. Her views lack any depth of understanding. She has become a good citizen of the US. She sees that Russia is controlling the narrative but sees nothing wrong with the unified position of misinformation by the Us government and reflected by a biased press.
        I just watched an interview with Glenn Greenwald and he correctly points out that while he has many criticisms of Obama, Obama while under great pressure to arm Ukraine refused saying that Ukraine has always been of vital interest to Russia but not to the US. He publicly stated in an Atlantic interview given toward the end of his presidency that arming Ukraine would create a crises and would be madness. Of course historical knowledge and reflection is something none existent in the US. Any inconvenient facts which would hinter US imperialism have been conveniently forgotten.
        Greenwald interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TaXZ4OdWsjw

        1. Acacia

          And regarding the unfolding disaster in the Ukraine, it seems Obama was also correct when he reportedly said: “don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f**k things up”.

      5. Skippy

        Its amazing to watch uninformed and inexperienced ideologues play kids sand pit politics based on emotions MH, taking inputs away with nothing to replace it with, which then creates disruptions throughout entire economies which are harder to claw back than a transitional period would have allowed. Best bit is it unleashes the monster of inflation that these sorts used as a cudgel against the unwashed for so very very long in cramming them down – zomg inflation will destroy reality as we know it and all will starve all whilst productivity increasingly goes to the very top percentile.

        All of which is – in my mind – simply about interpersonal contracts and the agendas they create, proceeds any type of knowledge to the contrary of its intent, where the consequences of such is borne by those without any agency in the contractual process.

        All of this in retrospect to the rapidly increasing environmental changes globally e.g. can’t bargain with it.

      6. anon y'mouse

        well, it makes a certain sense. if the ability of others to see one’s “beautiful smile” is absolutely necessary such that mask wearing to prevent spread of an airborne disease is obscured on all fronts, then the wearing of eyeshadow and lipstick must be alongside that.

        because it’s absolute essential to maintain a facade of “all being well” in the west while the inside crumbles from depression, food/water/air industrial contaminants and additives + stress, social alienation, etcetcetc.

        remember, one of the the worst things for one’s social and economic standing during the last few decades is a Negative Nancy or “failing to move forward and not look back”, with a sense of entitlement (often but not always a person who realizes that human rights can be considered much more broadly than the Neoliberal dictums that Lambert highlights –because markets–go die!– and says so out loud is considered “entitled” by everyone else who is beaten down by and has internalized Thatcher’s ideology. try it and watch the reactions!).

      7. Olivier

        Ninna Khrushcheva is a good representative of Yasha Levine’s weaponized immigrant class.

  3. Mikel

    “And other Asian countries, Latin America and the global south will see that it can get a better deal with Russia and China than it can get with the United States.”

    They may SEE it, but what will they do about it in reality? If they move in the direction of taking advantage of the opportunity, the US is stationed militarily to create the kind of chaos that would make it hard for countries to take advantage of economic opportunities. Activities that include amplifying internal divisions will increase.
    It’s a bit like the person with a love interest that says “If I can’t have you, nobody can…”

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Other Asian countries, Latin America and the global south will probably join the Great Han Lebensraum One Ball One Chain World China Prosperity Borg. They will get to decide whether becoming a series of overseas Tibets for China’s benefit will be a better deal than the NATO EUFUKUS EUro Dollar zone would have been.

      They could be right. They will find out.

    2. dftbs

      One of the impacts of this war and its consequences, which IMO make it a watershed event, is the revelations about American Imperial power in the military and economic sense.

      With respect to the former, there are competing theses about the efficacy, or lack thereof, of the Russian military. What is clear is that the US and its vassals don’t have the ability to execute a military response which would fulfill their stated strategic aims. The present commitment of military aid is showing the lack of efficacy of western weapons systems. It could be said that these systems are not the most advanced the West has, but this conceit raises other problematic questions. Is the West serious about its stated strategic imperatives if it won’t commit the required resources to achieve them? Or does the West, despite its claims, actually know what its strategic imperatives are? Or perhaps those required resources are actually not available?

      The latter question dovetails into the revelations about the economic power of the US, and the West. If despite all the notional resource allocation to war making capacity doesn’t yield actual real world war making capacity, then what is the state of the western world’s productive economy? And if that system lacks the productive base to support the notional consumptive power of its economy, then what good is the notional valuation.

      So now the other Asian, Latin American and global south countries will see that in reality they CAN do something about the better deal. They will see the US/West doesn’t have the military resources to challenge them directly (unless you want to nuke Caracas). And that the US/West has lost the coercive power of their illusory economy. What good is a Euro or a Dollar to you, Latin American Oligarch, if you can’t use it to buy food and energy from Russia or consumer goods from China? How safe is it for you to deposit it at JPM or DB if the US or EU can seize it a will. After all they seized Russia’s money and the Russians have nukes.

      1. Mikel

        I’m considering that as well. But I left room in my comment to consider the USA’s A game: Propaganda.

        And the USA wouldn’t have to win a war in a coventional way. Not really thinking of that. Just have to keep mess stirred up and in chaos.

        Note has to be taken of who the officials are in those country, where they went to school (who are they networked with) – if you catch my drift.
        We’ll see.

        1. Dftbs

          I think the US, and Americans within, over estimate their situation. Propaganda is a big part of that. It is very effective, but all the same it is directed internally. The largest consumers of US propaganda are Americans, and it is to their strategic detriment.

          I think further down in the comments there are some expressions of the “conventional wisdom” about the long term economic competitiveness of Russia and China in comparison to America. The former are found wanting, not due to any material reasoning but it’s believed, a priori, that there is some unique American national DNA that begets historical advantage. The truth is that the American moment was a brief slice of history which was brought about, more by the decimation of the rest of the world in WW2, than any innate American ability.

          All the Marvel movies or Top Gun sequels in the world aren’t going to change where we are.

          1. Fritzi

            The funny thing is, thanks to it’s geography and resources the US could absolutely have been a very long lasting world power, if only it’s economic and political system wasn’t as rotten and self-destructive.

            Not that it ever could have stayed a world dominating sole hyperpower for all that long either way, that kind of power can never last (and if it’s political and economic system wasn’t as insane, they wouldn’t want to be in that position anyway).

            But they were certainly vastly better positioned to be long term big time global players than Britain ever was, probably than Europe as a whole ever was.

            But now it looks like they will end up much more weakened than they would ever have been if they had just made peace with the fact of China’s and Russia’s (re)rise.

        2. hk

          A great irony is that US and the West generally depend more than others on an orderly world, where things work predictably, reliably, and consistently because their societies and economies are built on such presumption, with very little spare capacity if things go off the routine. US foreign policy for past has been exactly the opposite, drunk on the delusion of rightness backed by hithertofar mostly unchallenged might, and, on the occasions where the might ran into hiccups, doubling down on the claims of rightness. Well, this is a most serious challenge to the presumption of might so far–how far can we go insisting on the mad claims of rightness when we can’t back it up any more?

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        re: the latter question:
        it’s emperor has no clothes time, me thinks.
        USA is a hollowed out shambles masquerading as an empire.
        of course, from my perspective, way down here…and from reading voraciously for decades from as many other perspectives as i could manage…this has been self evident for a long while.
        but now the secret’s out, and the world stands in awe as the last superpower stumbles around shitting itself.
        i gather that a lot of folks out there in non-usa-land have been pining for this moment….we haven’t exactly been a benign hegemon, after all…
        and as for the “economic might of the USA”(tm)///didn’t 08/GFC teach anyone anything?
        or ENRON before it?
        or…(insert hubristic failure, here)…?
        there aint a there, there.
        derivatives, cdo’s, cds’s, myriad tranches and slicing and dicing…complexity obscures the grift…but eventually, the piper must be paid.
        how much of that “wealth” is real…or even as real as a dollar, for that matter?
        the former relies even more on Belief than the latter…add a little doubt, and poof!
        that this is happening was likely inevitable…just the how and when(frankly, i’m amazed, and have been, that the PTB have managed to keep all those plates spinning as long as they did)

        people like me already live in the third world(rural texas), just with less access to basic healthcare,lol.
        i’ll be cranky if i can’t get tobacco to grow here, but me and mine will muddle through.
        don’t know about all those millions in the big city, however.
        the majority of amurkins are gonna be shocked(msm said everything was fine!)…then pissed(but whom do you aim yer deer hunting AK at, really?)…then depressed and suicidal(when the reality sinks in that it ain’t coming back, and they’ve been lied to about literally everything).
        my brother told me just the other day that he expects a few bad years, and then it’ll all get back to normal(sic)…”what we need is real leadership”…lol.

        any windfall i come across is going to things like shoring up the seed bank and stocking up on lumber and parts…and a few wind gennies, if i can manage.

        1. eg

          Amfortas, you have touched upon at least one uncomfortable truth about America — that its misleadership class has internal colonies within its own borders.

    3. anon y'mouse

      Activities that include amplifying internal divisions will increase.
      It’s a bit like the person with a love interest that says “If I can’t have you, nobody can…”

      our internal psyop merchants are busy doing that all over the internet and in the news media day after day. that’s the bulk of what is going on in places like reddit, message boards, social media and the msm.

      so, the U.S. citizens are internally oppressed already in this war.

  4. Tom Pfotzer

    There’s a little Jimminy Cricket doubt-bug sitting on my shoulder. It keeps saying “Tom, you’re missing something. ”

    Why would a bunch of smart people – the ones staffing the rather different government administrations of the European states – sign up for a programme of economic damage and war risk?

    I can understand why Poland and other former-Soviet-satellite states might get the heebie-jeebies when they see Russia invade Ukraine, and they probably have fewer economic downsides – such as those the Germans face – from blocking Russian trade-flows.

    But Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland… it’s not making sense.

    One possible answer is that there’s a deal one some table somewhere that reads “This is what your chunk of Russia will be – once we effect regime change in Russia – if you sign onto our team”.

    Maybe that “offering circular exists”, but who would really believe it? “What makes you think you can oust Putin?” would be the first question the offering-circular’s presenter would have to field.

    So, the Spoils of War notion seems a bit weak to me at the moment.

    One other possibility is that the West well and truly does fear getting left in the economic dust should China continue on its current economic and cultural cyclonic spin-up, which will only be hastened and broadened should resource- and technology-rich Russia become full-partner.

    That would be a big concern, because everyone else that’s not on the Eurasian continent would be left out, or certainly facing some strong economic headwinds.

    The other possibility is that someone(s) can make these European governments do things that run counter to their people’s interests. I know it’s fun to imagine this, but do you really, truly believe it’s possible?

    It seems like there is some other powerful motivator operative. I can’t, yet, identify it.

    Does anyone have any suggestions?

    1. Joe Well

      >>Why would a bunch of smart people – the ones staffing the rather different government administrations of the European states – sign up for a programme of economic damage and war risk?

      Maybe they’re not that smart? Or at least, aren’t allowed to act like it.

    2. Mikel

      “Why would a bunch of smart people – the ones staffing the rather different government administrations of the European states – sign up for a programme of economic damage and war risk?”

      Habit? It’s not like it’s all without historical precedent.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      Many EUropeans are antirussianitic racist antirussianites, in the Nazi German tradition. That is all the motivation they need.

      1. José Freitas

        Think Ursula Von der Lying, born in a Nazi home, in her childhood constantly hearing tales of how Russia smashed Germany.

      2. Fritzi

        Oh boy, are they ever.

        There’s a little Adolf still in vast parts of Germany’s population in particular.

        LOTS of “This time we’ll take Moscow for reals!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” that was hiding just under the surface and is bubbling up with a vengeance now.

        And with ever increasing gusto and pride.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          And not just Germany. Or even Germany at all, especially. All of EUrope.

          I think the EUropeans thought they could trick America and Russia into a war with eachother, and them emerge to Rule the Wreckage of the World.

          NATO is a Euro-Brittanic conspiracy against America. It always was. American guilt-mongers and intellectuals who are proud of how ashamed they can be to be American are not smart enough to see that. But it is there to be seen . . . ever since 20th century America’s most evil President, the antigermanitic anglophile Woodrow Wilson co-conspired with the British Empire to trick America into supporting the wrong side in World War One.

    4. C.O.

      Many of the people most in favour of these actions are also absolutely committed to the idea that there is no society among the people who aren’t like them, and that the negative impacts of these actions will never touch them. They are sure their money or their ability to stick to the people they understand to be “in charge” means they will never want, never be in danger, never see the actual effects of what is happening.

      This morning’s wonderful post on the UK conservatives’ suggestions for coping with inflation of the basic costs of living is an excellent illustration of the mindset.

    5. Tom Pfotzer

      Replies much appreciated. This whole thread is a great read.

      Thanks esp. to Dr. Hudson for providing the context. Clear & direct.

    6. lance ringquist

      under free trade, bags of money are being thrown at the e.u. leaders. later on when the lower slobobians figured out that they have been sold out, the leaders if smart will head to the u.s.a. in droves before they end up like musolinni.

      1. deplorado

        I think bags of money it is, and also, thick folders of kompromat’s – especially in the less refined territories of Eastern Europe… That pattern is visible at least in Bulgaria, which is killing its leftover industry (fertilizers, energy and tourism) and going against the grain of popular Russian sympathies to oblige the bosses.

    7. Tom Pfotzer

      I’d like to present another scenario for your consideration. I’m going to draw on a lot of the commentary in this thread, but offer up another slant on it that isn’t yet on the table.


      a. The West tried to gain foothold in China, in order to establish rent-extraction systems there, and to perpetuate another era of wealth extraction on behalf of our elites. It failed, hence the Trade War, and that was a bust, too. Result: insufficient rent streams from China to support Western elites.

      b. China and Russia blazing a path toward Asian integration. BRI, SCO, etc. A viable alternative, with better terms, to Western economic “rules-based order”. There is now, as never before, a Plan B .vs. “The West; there is no alternative”.

      If you’re an elite, and you need rent streams to maintain your lifestyle, what’s your move?

      First, you try to bust up Russia/China/BRI/SCO. If that doesn’t work, then scramble to circle the wagons (scoop up what’s left) to preserve your markets (rent-seeking opptys).

      Is that not what’s afoot right now?

      Try to squash Russia first, via Ukraine. If crush-Russia plan fails, at least it creates a clean, sharp cleave-line, dividing the world into the two poles. Dr Hudson seems to think this is a prime objective, and I think he’s quite right.

      Can’t Get The Whole Pie? Then get as much as you can.

      So now we’ve got two poles: Anglosphere plus Europe, Japan, N. Korea in one pole, everyone else in the other. That seems to be where we’re headed.

      Now, let’s talk about how to establish a viable pole. if you’re the West and your pole needs a refurb, which it does, here’s a story about how that might transpire.

      Lately there’s been a lot of discussion about how hollowed out the U.S. is. Amfortas brought this up, and I think he’s partly right. And partly not-right.

      Why is he partly not-right? (IMHO, Amfortas; no dis-respect) Because:

      a. The U.S. is still a very, very strong economy. Some parts have been gutted during the attempt to gain foothold in China (factories shipped over). There are a lot of dead towns in fly-over. Amfortas sees that first-hand, and he’s reporting it. But the U.S. is still either number one or two for manufacturing, has lots of nat resources (plenty!), strong, skilled workforce, great secondary education system, lots of access to capital, and now, with the wagon-circling-under-military-threat, a rapidly consolidating “pole” market. And that’s a big market, and all those market-players have lots of talent and resources. Not as much potential as the other pole, but still quite-a-plenty.

      b. We’re dependent upon China because we shipped key elements of our productive capacity to China. That is not, most certainly not, a permanent condition. What got shipped there can get shipped right back. And when it gets shipped back, it’ll be reconstituted much more efficiently than it was when it left, and more efficient than it was when it was operating in China. A lot has happened re: production process improvement over the 30 yrs since those factories left the U.S.

      c. Not long ago, and maybe some of you remember this, Walmart was running ads about “bringing mfg’g back to America”. You’ll remember, you old folk, when Walmart was all about ‘Merkin manufacturing. A (very) few years later, they morphed into China’s U.S. retail outlet. Now, all of a sudden, now they’re a-bringin’ Mfg Back to America. Flag wrapped around their sorry, duplicitous carc-ass.

      Now, just suppose, and I realize that parts of this are a stretch given the current political climate, but just suppose there’s been a decision made to reconstitute western economic production systems, centered mainly on materials flows and manufacturing. “We’re going to totally rebuild our economy”. Don’t all laugh out loud. Remember that:

      a. Our politicians are just mouth-pieces. They have no volition. They do what they’re told.
      b. Stress creates opportunities for change. Recall Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine.
      c. The elites control all comms. NC readers excepted, the U.S. polity gets their info from official channels, and does absolutely no cross-check or validation.
      d. The elites’ bet on controlling (implanting rent extraction taps upon) the growth part of the world economy is busted, or severely degraded.

      So, if under the threat of World Extermination and the End Of Our Way of Life, the polity gets told “we’re gonna rebuild ‘Merka”, the polity will buy into it. In fact, maybe they should buy into it, if you’re going to evaluate the situation from the perspective of “what’s best for my family”.

      You might object, and say “but the political system is fractured, self-delusional, incompetent, selfish, and short-sighted! The leaders … just aren’t. They couldn’t do all that any more than they could jump over the moon!”.

      Maybe, possibly, even likely you’re right with that objection. But, I have to tell you, I’m not on-board with that assessment. The people – the folk behind the curtain – have been running this game for hundreds of years. They know what they’re doing. And one of the things they’re best at is … manipulation.

      You have to admit it, they are exemplary at manipulation, and in order to manipulate effectively, you need a goal in mind to manipulate toward. I believe that goal exists, is clearly defined, and is being pursued. Effectively.

      One of the key things that’s missing is the U.S. equivalent of a Putin. The dude is a phenomenon. There are others, and they can be rapidly recruited. Think about Obama’s phenomenal, meteoric rise. Scripted. Done once, can be done again.

      Just think what the reaction would be if somebody with Putin’s strategic, technical, personality force-of-character made the scene here in the U.S., and got full backing from the Comm Channel.

      OK, there it is. Blast away, I’ll be eager to hear your response.

      1. albrt


        I just hope that our Putin incorporates a little anti-climate-change stuff into his (or her) authoritarian platform. You know, to appeal to the young folks.

      2. Grebo

        Our ‘leaders’ are hand picked at a young age, often by family background, then indoctrinated and trained in programs like the Rhodes/Fulbright scholarships or WEF Young Global Leaders (they don’t try to hide it!). Those that show the correct attitude and aptitude are fast tracked into key positions and kept sweet with direct bribes and a cut of the grift.

        No-one from this cohort is going to change direction and no-one else is going to get any backing from the Comm Channel.

        1. Tom Pfotzer

          Really well-set-out. Concur.

          So, what’s the coping mechanism? Passivate? Hole up? Drink? Evolve? Other?

          I’m not being smart-aleck. Asking.

          1. Grebo

            Big question. We cannot shoot them down but we see their controlled flight into terrain. We need to have the parallel institutions ready to pick up the power when it hits the ground.

            1. Tom Pfotzer

              I hope you’ll expand on that at some point. We are in general agreement on strategy. However, to actually make good on the strategy requires a lot of prep. I don’t agree that it’s helpful (for anyone; top-lord thru bottom-lord) to wait till crack-up, if indeed that’s what you’re advocating.

              I’m seeing “parallel operation, perfect harmony / dodging during alt ops spin up, then take on greater load as current system starts buckling”

              No need to provoke fights, strife, other weirdness. It’ll take all we can do to just become a viable alternative.

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            A combination of Hole Up, Evolve, and possible Other currently unknown. Methods of distributed leaderless communication among those people doing one or more of these things.

            Survival lifeboat miniconomies and microconomies in place. A growing knowledge of how small and/or tiny societies can survive increasingly hostile weather outbreaks and background climate. And a very mature determination to withhold this knowledge from the people who made this knowledge necessary. If the global warmers and burners and arsonists are permitted to survive into the future, they will maliciously reach out and destroy that future and every other future they can reach.

            And a decent measure of non-missionary non-recruitment respect for other people trying yet other methods.

            1. Tom Pfotzer

              DW: as usual, great posts throughout.

              Mind the blood-pressure; we need to stay in the ring all 15 rounds.


              Best regards.

      3. eg

        Tom, your scenario is not beyond the realm of possibility. The US has vast resources, both material and human, along with enviable geographic advantages. What you describe in terms of empire is “revival” and that is definitely on the table in an empire as young as America’s, and betting against America has been a losing game for some time now.

        But it’s a long shot — especially threading that needle quickly enough under imminent climate disaster. And the first thing it would require would be to abandon the preference for propaganda and self-delusion in favour of a ruthless pragmatism; what signs of this can you identify in an elite that is demonstrating a habit of getting high on its own supply?

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          yeah…that last part.
          there’s a tendency among ordinary people…at least the rural texas humans i’ve been embedded with…to think of the various supposed heirarchies and “superstructures” of Rulership as on a scale, from ruthlessly competent to all but omnipotent…from WSWS to Q to lizard people in human suits.
          i’ve known like 3 people in my life who had read things like C. Wright Mills…let alone Burnham or Veblen.
          to think of Those People as “people” is anathema among the lumpen and lower ends of what we used to call the middle class.
          but they are….they’re different from me, and the people i’m among…but they’re still just people.
          they have obsessions and blind spots and cognitive biases and myriad unexamined assumptions, just like the rest of us.
          but their steering wheels are actually connected to the machinery of civilisation…while our’s are not.
          they may or may not have a cleaner spot on the windshield, too…but it’s hard to tell.
          especially here lately.

          an experiential thought experiment:
          hang out unobtrusively(being the waitress/waiter/busperson is helpful in this camouflage) in whatever greasy spoon serves as the de facto town hall in the nearest little town.
          observe the tables of what passes for the local gentry.
          that’s analogous to bill gate’s symposia, just with a different lens, and a less sophisticated vocabulary.

          i find that people don’t like to think in these terms,lol…and will actively resist thinking about these things.
          (in my time, i’ve bumped up against the underside of the Upper Strata, too…cooking/catering for the soirees of minor oil company people…or playing music for the Landed Gentry of various places throughout the South….and the above observations appear to scale…)

          1. Tom Pfotzer

            Amfortas: glad you weighed in. Couple points:

            a. we agree that the overlords are “just people, with all that entails”. Check.
            b. we agree that the overlords, the mid-lords, or the underlords (that’s us) don’t like to think in terms of their own obsessions, blind spots. Check.

            Above I stated “if we’re gonna get out, it’s us that’ll be doing the gettin'”. That means we have to do just what you stated: face ourselves. Our fears, our weaknesses, our ridiculous, outmoded wants / social needs, and do some vigorous house-cleaning, and get real while it’s still possible.

            And to pick up on your point about immersion-observation: I did a lot of that, too, and came away _very_ disillusioned with that I beheld. A hard slam to Earth.

            The implication: if there is an exit-path, somebodies are going to need to do a hell of a lot of self-adapting in a great big hurry.

            That last line is another of those hi-value-targets. Our extant methods of self-adaptation are nowhere near up to the job. That’s a generalization (fortunately), but it’s a formidably true generalization.

            I have not yet read C. Wright Mills…let alone Burnham or Veblen. Trying to catch up. :) Also: good luck w/windmill. I’m gonna do solar panels, prob next year. Hammered this year.

            1. Fritzi

              I’d suspect that even if the American Empire revived itself, which is of course possible (even though I’d argue that even the Deep State is showing plenty of signs of declining institutional competence, it’s manipulations being increasingly obvious, working less and less smoothly, with the rest of the world getting better at countering them, but they started their decline from a very high level, so it still works a decent amount of times, but definitely more and more at best partially), it will be at a high price.

              An American Putin would probably be necessary at this point, who could potentially morph quickly into the American Hitler that the MSM tried to paint Trump as, or at least an American Napoleon.

              There are risks for the puppeteers in this as well, for who can say for certain that such a figure will remain controllable.

              A LOT of people confidently predicted that the Russian Oligarchs would do this or that, because they assumed that Putin was a figure head, but sometimes the intended figure head does not stay what he was intended to be.

              Any reconstituted imperial US would cling to superpower status pretty much inevitably by shedding most or all of even it’s current, already crumbling facade of benevolence, democracy, etc.

              The US was never a genuine force for freedom and justice, but it was able to keep up that pretense to a degree that it had a significant advantage in the propaganda war with the eastern block, so powerful that it swayed even a lot of people there.

              That’s already mostly gone for the vast majority of the world’s population, and that good will is never coming back.

              Even if the US succeeds at shoring up it’s sappping military and economic strength, it will never again be America the beautiful and brave.

              It will never again be able to claim any more moral high ground than any other empire in history.

              Of course, all empires claimed moral high ground and usually succeeded at propagandizing their own subjects, but for a brief moment of history America’s propaganda and brainwashing reached further beyond the Empire’s borders than with any previous imperial power, and that is what is irretrievably gone, and will only be a distant memory after the US (hypothetically) does what is necessary to cement control of it’s holdings.

        2. Tom Pfotzer


          Agree on all counts. Here’s a few response-options we (little people) have, ordered by effectiveness (IMHO):

          a. Twist ourselves into a more-perfect pretzel with better “messaging”, pleas, exhortations, ridicule, impossible-to-accomplish threats, etc. We’ve been doing that for as long as I remember. Still doing it. Not working, not gonna work.

          b. Recognize that all the “they’re not listening, don’t care, have built self-reinforcing psychological moat around themselves” feedback we’re getting will finally, finally, finally percolate into our consciousness.

          c. Start evolving. We are not learning and adapting anywhere near fast enough to dodge the calamity of climate disaster and economic marginalization of (what remains of) the middle class. Lest that come across as finger-wagging I hereby install myself @ front-of-line guilty.

          I believe it’s time to face the reality that if we’re gonna make it out of this one, _we’re_ going to have to do the work. I don’t see that we have a quorum yet that’s made that emotional turn. And it’s mainly emotional; fear of the scale, fear of retribution for attempting change, etc. Plenty fear-obstacles.

          I’m keeping this short, but I think this is high-value-target discussion matl.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            agree, that this sort of thing should be thoroughly fleshed out…starting at least 20 years ago(some of us have been attempting to do just that,lol)
            personal secession/disengagement to parallel institutions and tribal/community-level secession/disengagement…secession/disengagement/unplugging to as great an extent as possible.
            start at your doorstep and expand the village outward…and note, previously, it was exceedingly difficult to get anyone on board even minimally with such endeavors…because one can get a bag o’ beans for 50 cents.
            i think more and more people will be casting about for something meaningful and pragmatic to do with themselves…especially if the dollar loses enough of it’s smash.
            those of us who’ve been thinking about this stuff…and doing this stuff…for a while will be needed(finally,lol).

            1. Tom Pfotzer

              This is why you’re needed, Amfortas. You are way, way, way out front. It’s a pain in the ass, but ya done it, Man.

              1. Amfortas the hippie

                and, given the Big Thing happening in my life right now, i’m doing a sort of natural experiment to see how a “minimal”* garden does without much human intervention, aside from watering and spraying fish emulsion and kindasorta managing critter access.(so far so good,lol)

                *-likely large by most standards, if i consolidated it into one plot…but it’s distributed throughout this 2 acre side of the road…and the plants are hidden by grass and such(a technic i developed to have a garden/fruit trees during the 6+ year grasshopper plague(they din’t like grass(?))

          2. JeffK

            Pronoun usage Tom: Who are the “we”? Americans are a nation of immigrants, born in the land of opportunity and spoon fed the ideology of maximizing self interest. It’s mantra is ‘I got mine and to hell with da rest a youz’. Its is only with great consternation and protest that taxes get levied for our governments to build our car-centric suburban infrastructure and provide assistance for amoral corporations to monopolize and and provide “jobs-jobs-jobs” for the public to serve their goals of maximizing profit.

            “We” have no national industrial policy. “We” have foreign policies that mostly prop up our self-serving military industrial complex, and provide trade deals that maximize profitability of corporate interests.

            So, when you write ” …if we’re gonna make it out of this one, we’re going to have to do the work”… I wonder who you are thinking of. Who are the “we”? “We” come together best when we are at war or fighting a pandemic…which as you know is not so good. We haven’t come together well since the days of Roosevelt or Eisenhower.

            What organizing principle do you propose to instantly create a unified ‘society’ contrary to the ideology of self-interest and maximizing corporate profit? You mentioned Obama’s rise as an example of leadership. Yeah, maybe during his campaign for the first term…but that hopium vanished when the banks got bailed out during the financial crisis (and only a few lower level actors went to jail). I would agree that a strong leader could make a difference, but look at who runs for office these days. Former actors and TV personalities, radical populists, christian nationalists. “We” elect the wrong people because “we” are propping up political voices that serve our selfish interests above any visionary or aspirational objectives for serving the collective good.

            The “we” can’t help ourselves because of our history and the diet of limited media information we consume. I think our past will define our future. No amount of hopium will stem the tide.

            1. Tom Pfotzer

              JeffK: Great post.

              “We” is the people in Steerage on the Titanic.

              All the cultural problems (“you deserve a break today :) :) “) we’re contaminated (sorry, strong word, um.. ) afflicted by, which you eloquently detailed above … are root-cause of our malaise. Our culture is what’s busted, mainly and in most places.

              I have already posted too much and too often in this thread, so I’ll leave it at that for now. I hope others comment on your exc points, esp this question:

              What organizing principle do you propose to instantly create a unified ‘society’ contrary to the ideology of self-interest and maximizing corporate profit?

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                If self interest for people outside the corporation-sphere involves minimizing corporate profit, then those people might decide that maximizing their self-interest requires minimizing their enemies’ corporate profit.

                Perhaps aiming the same organizing principle at different targets. If us’s survival requires economic shrinkdown, then us maximises us’s self interest by forcing them into economic shrinkdown.

            2. Grebo

              The organising principle will be a general collapse. Nothing less will do it. It has to become obvious to the PMC that they have been screwed too. While they stagger around in bewilderment the aforementioned parallel institutions step up and start salvaging what’s left.

              These parallel institutions must exist and be prepared with knowledge of the existing institutions. They must be known to key personnel so when they turn up with a plan (and by the way we’ve put Boss Hog in jail) the reaction will be “thank God!” rather than “says who?”. They must also be known to the people through charitable works; think Salvation Army, soup kitchens, Citizen’s Advice. They will help people to help each other, before and after the collapse.

          3. Diogenes

            Get used to it, man. Embrace mediocrity. Celebrate mendacity.
            Mother Nature has a plan.
            It’s staring us in the face: capitalism is Mother Nature’s way of getting rid of homo sapiens.
            First, create a system that capitalizes on the human vice of greed. Then institutionalize it. Then militarize it. Then imperialize it. Then let it all bang up against the planet’s air, water, you name it. Bingo.
            Then best of all sit back and watch it all self destruct. WWI, WWII, Ukraine (a WWIII if we’re lucky).
            Don’t fight your Mother.
            Have been about 1 billion species on the earth.
            Average life expectancy of a species is about 100,000 years.
            Homo sapiens been around about 100,000 years.
            Time to go.
            We’re like an unwanted dinner guest.
            Our Mother is gently tapping us on the back with droughts, wars, famines, astroid fly overs, etc.
            Get the message?
            Time to move on.

      4. Mikel

        “The U.S. is still a very, very strong economy. Some parts have been gutted during the attempt to gain foothold in China (factories shipped over). There are a lot of dead towns in fly-over. Amfortas sees that first-hand, and he’s reporting it. But the U.S. is still either number one or two for manufacturing, has lots of nat resources (plenty!), strong, skilled workforce, great secondary education system, lots of access to capital, and now, with the wagon-circling-under-military-threat, a rapidly consolidating “pole” market. And that’s a big market, and all those market-players have lots of talent and resources. Not as much potential as the other pole, but still quite-a-plenty….”

        The USA wants to control a GLOBAL skilled workforce and education GLOBALLY.
        The population of the USA alone can not mint the trillionaires that the billionaires want to become.

      5. drumlin woodchuckles

        The Nazi Paperclipper Deep State would assassinate such a Putin figure as soon as they figured out what he represented. They killed every possible such figure in America as soon as it emerged, Kennedy, X, King, Kennedy, etc.

        It would be very difficult to root out and exterminate all the personnel who make up and support the Nazi Paperclipper Deep State in this country. But without such a thorough and complete extermination program here that kills every single one of them, there will be no progress at the national level.

        In the meantime, better to focus on developing many little or tiny Separate Survival Lifeboat Economic Societies and Regions.

    8. sulfurcrested

      “The other possibility is that someone(s) can make these European governments do things that run counter to their people’s interests. I know it’s fun to imagine this, but do you really, truly believe it’s possible?”
      It’s probably a fairly simple carrot & stick play. In short the US bribes leaders — look at Tony Blair.

    9. eg

      I have heard Hudson claim elsewhere that the European political class is deeply corrupt and on the take. The answer to your question is that they are “on the payroll.”

    10. anon y'mouse

      it doesn’t matter that your country has been turned into a pile of economic rubble if you and your kind are standing atop the pile. actually, making your citizens poorer allows you to better control them. people went along with serfdom for how many centuries merely to be allowed to live in a wattle and daub hut with a few animals and a vegetable garden of their own. lifestyles can sink a lot more and people still won’t rebel.

      see LatAm and how the U.S. has paid off their upper classes for our rapine, allowed us to fund their guerillas and drug lords, etc. and they are just now making uppity noises about it when it’s been going on for, what? over a century?

    11. Jacob Hatch

      They are all corrupt, and want to dip into the MIC-IMATT gravy train. Corruption is the 3rd oldest career path, how many city gates were opened to the invading hords by people on the take? I don’t understand why so many people refuse to consider it when it’s everywhere.

  5. Anthony G Stegman

    I think it will be a mistake to underestimate the resourcefulness of the United States. While China and India may be increasing trade with Russia the residents of those countries overwhelmingly prefer to immigrate to the United States. The lure of the “American Dream” remains very strong throughout the majority of the world. It is not clear at all that Russia, China, and India can compete economically with the United States over the long run as the best and brightest of those nations prefer to live and work in the United States. If Europe goes south residents of Europe will find it relatively easy to immigrate to the United States (at least the caucasian Europeans). Climate change will also harm other nations far more than it will the United States due to geography and the ability of the US to mitigate its worst impacts. Of course, over the longer run nation states themselves may become obsolete and a new way to organize the world will need to be devised.

    1. jsn

      While it may be a mistake to underestimate the RESOURCES of the US, any hints of resourcefulness have been contained by the PMC obsession with credentials.

      This prioritization of the sign over the signified has made opportunistic, careerist symbol/position manipulation the singular path to institutional “leadership” across whatever components of the system are managed by the PMC.

      While our resource base does give us a leg up on climate change, between profit driven housing, education, and transportation sectors, the death and disease for profit industry, rampant inflation and other tender ministrations of the PMC, I’m not sure we’ll remain the attractive destination we’ve been in the past.

      1. Joe Well

        On the other side of the credentialed, we have the Innovator.*

        *someone who is overseeing an enormous speculative bet on behalf of some billionaires and centi-millionaires.

        I listened to part of the All In Podcast, there’s a lot of Team I complaining about Team C.

        1. jsn

          Right, the Credentialed folks hold you in place while the Innovative folks rob or kill you!

          1. anon y'mouse

            that’s innovation, baby! it’s how our society became Numero Uno.

            what are you, a backwards troglodyte living in the past?

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Unless and until the current cadres of ruling elites and support staff in the United States are rounded up and mass-exterminated in a deep and broad social-cleansing movement, the United States will not be free or permitted to excercise any creativity on behalf of United States majority people.

        Various little centers of “creativity-seeking” may try to drop out in place and mentally-morally seccede from DC Fed Regimistan to create their own creative separate survival futures in place. But at the national scale, unless America can exterminate the elite which exterminates America, America will be exterminated.

      3. albrt

        The US will continue to be an attractive destination for sociopaths who want to take advantage of all the opportunities the US offers to sociopaths, through credentialing or otherwise. It’s been that way for a while.

        It will also continue to be an attractive destination for religious nutjobs who want to take advantage of all the opportunities the US offers to religious nutjobs.

        I represented a fair number of asylum seekers in the 2000s. All my clients deserved asylum as defined under the law, and many endured horrific persecution in their home countries. But the vast majority fit into either category 1 or 2 – there was a reason they didn’t fit into the system they grew up in.

    2. playon

      When the Republicans get back in power, it’s possible that they will limit legal immigration. As far as climate change, Russia is probably in a better position than the US, especially given the dysfunctional political system here, which makes responding to any crisis problematic. Also the US is looking at higher fertilizer prices, while Russia is a net exporter of fertilizer.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        The RussiaGov supports carbon skyflooding in the belief that global warming will transform Siberia into a tropical paradise breadbasket. Will events prove them right? Will events prove them wrong?

        Let Darwin decide.

        ( It may be that China-India will pre-empt the Russiagov’s plans to carbon-flood the sky enough to turn Siberia tropical. China-India may well decide that since Russia’s climate fortune will be China-India’s climate misfortune, China-India will go ahead and surround the world with a sulfuric acid droplet shroud in the high atmosphere. Under such a scenario, if Russia suffers new rounds of cold, China-India will say: ” sorry about that. This ain’t personal, its business.”)

    3. Jacob Hatch

      The funny thing is, when I first when to China 40 years ago, there were few foreigners and even fewer Americans. Now when I visit I see them all over the place, and they all say the same thing Europeans would have said when boarding ships for Ellis Island, there is no opportunity in the ossified old world (now west), here is where the future is being made. I’ve seen the same phenomena in Russia, much of that wheat everyone is desperate to get is farmed by French, South African, and yes, American immigrants. As to resourcefulness, it would be nice if it could do something as basic as fix bridges, something the 0.01% depend on to rape the pocketbook of the other 99.98%, but they are to busy directing all that resourcefulness directly into their own pocket, resenting even the smallest diversion to the common good. Gordon Geckos combined with Pol Pot, that 0.01%

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Us could fix us’s bridges, if them ( the 0.01%) were systematically and thoroughly physically exterminated first. Since them is what prevents us from solving us’s problems, them is the problem.
        And as Stalin said . . . no them, no problem.

        1. lance ringquist

          to the free trading oligarchs they could care less about infrastructure. in their eyes the world is theirs, whats mine is mine, whats yours is mine. they could care less if we cannot cross a river. that’s our problem, not theirs, and no money for you on top of that, all money world wide is ours.

          1. Jacob Hatch

            Walmart wants you to fill your house with their crap, fill your body with their crap, so they need bridges, but they refuse to pay for them. It’s entitlement and competition between the oligarchy over who pays for what.

    4. Polar Socialist

      The international migration to North America was about 67% of the migration to Europe and 68% of the migration to Asia in 2020. Or, to put it another way, only one in five chose to migrate to North America that year.
      Anecdotal as it may be, from the experience I’ve had in European academia, in the last decades the USA has turned from a wanted place to something to avoid – short contracts, little money, high pressure. The last decade the tide has turned and people are returning to Europe and even many Americans are looking to come here. Something you just did not see only 15 years ago.

    5. SocalJimObjects

      “the best and brightest of those nations prefer to live and work in the United States.” Doing FIRE, Crypto and social media stuff. If you assemble the world’s greatest brains to work on socially destructive stuff, then you basically get the United States of today. It’s all going to plan!!!

    6. Oh

      While China and India may be increasing trade with Russia the residents of those countries overwhelmingly prefer to immigrate to the United States. The lure of the “American Dream” remains very strong throughout the majority of the world.

      So true. I don’t see them clamoring to immigrate to Russia. The US requires cheap labor to sell the “American Dream” and the immigrants (legal and illegal) serve the pupose. The applicants for visas in those countries are treated like dirt. For example, they have to pay a hefty fee with the application which is NOT refunded. In spite of this, hordes line up at the gates of the consulates to apply.

      It might look like India is bucking the sanctions to trade with Russia but maybe the US is looking the other way. If push comes to shove, India may fall in line. They’ve already canceled some plans to purchase weapons from Russia citing the excuse that they would manufacture them indigenously.

      I agree that caucasians will find it easier to immigrate to the US.

  6. Susan the other

    If there is no plan to survive all the blowback from our sanctions on Russia and China, then there’s no plan at all. And the only thing that makes sense is that “the plan” is hidden; it’s war. I’m stupefied by how irrational it has all become. What on Earth do we expect to gain?

    1. Zephyrum

      It’s all tactics and no strategy. Which, as Sun Tzu wrote, is “the noise before defeat.”

  7. upstater

    The economic war with China is part of this “great game”. With China, this war is best exemplified by the sanctions on Huawei and ZTE. Today RT reports:

    “The Government of Canada is announcing today that it intends to prohibit Canadian telecommunications service providers from deploying Huawei and ZTE products and services in their 5G networks,” the office said, adding that officials have “serious concerns” the companies could be “compelled to comply with extrajudicial directions from foreign governments in ways that would conflict with Canadian laws or would be detrimental to Canadian interests.”

    The use of new 4G or 5G gear from either firm will be prohibited outright in Canada as of September, while existing 5G equipment must be phased out by June 28, 2024, the government said. Those using older 4G equipment from Huawei or ZTE will have until late 2027 to switch over to alternatives.

    Cui bono? Certainly not consumers. We’ll also have “our” backdoors installed, not “theirs”. Among the biggest beneficiaries are Finland and Sweden, with their national champions Nokia and Ericsson. Coincidentally they are joining NATO…

    1. Mikel

      When I hear of Canada getting tough on China, my mind goes to the Canadian housing market.

      Will be worth watching the developments there.

      1. jsn

        If Xi is serious about repatriating assets, it will be interesting to watch NY too.

        If Hudson is right about Latin American defaults this summer, it won’t be sea level rise that sinks Miami.

        Systemic effects don’t care about narratives or news cycles.

  8. playon

    These sanctions are so obviously bone-headed — I find it difficult to believe that the EU is being this stupid. Russia can easily become self-sufficient, they have the resources and the ability to trade with China, so what exactly is the plan here?

  9. michael hudson

    RT Just sent me (unexpectedly) the OFF-CAMERA discussion, FYI.

    PS: As inflation and consumer prices keep rising in the US – Joe Biden maintains that it’s all Russia’s fault. Does it look like American taxpayers are buying that story, though?

    MH: The press is very one-sided here. I think a lot of people are buying the story because Russia has not been very good on public relations here. The reality is, for instance, that in Ukrainian food exports, Ukraine cannot export its grain because Ukraine itself has mined the Black Sea. If you have mines that are going to block up ships in the Black Sea, that means insurance companies aren’t going to be willing to insure ships carrying the grain. All of this is blamed on Russia but Russia didn’t put the mines there – Ukraine did. But right now there is such a race hatred of Russians, that Americans are indeed buying it all and Russians are being blamed for everything. Such a thing happened when WW1 broke out. I live in Forest Hills in NYC and German families here had to change their name -away from a German name- and pretend to be Swedish or something else. Families like Donald Trump’s family had to pretend to be Swedish not German. There was such an anti-German family. Then you had the Japanese being interned in camps in WW2. So American society is a hate-filled society and the American empire is really an empire of hatred and antagonism. The way they look at the world is ‘Us vs. Them’ and Russia is the new ‘Them’.

    PS: The seizing of Russian economic assets – hundreds of billions of dollars – in the West has certainly become a controversial precedent. Moscow has called it theft. What sort of impact has this situation had on the US economy and the dollar itself, as a global reserve currency?

    MH: No impact at all on the US economy as such. If Russias loses the $300 billion that was stolen, it will be a great victory for Russia. That’s because what America has said is that no country’s savings in the United States are safe. Any country that denominated its trade in US dollars, any country that invests in the United States, if you don’t have your government follow American dictates, then we can simply grab your money -like we grabbed Russia’s money, Afghanistan’s money, Venezuela’s money. So the act against Russia has been essentially the US destroying foreign faith in the US economy and the safety of the US government. For the last 75 years, the US dollar and US Treasury Bills, loaned to the US government, bonds, have been the safest investment in the world. Now they’re the most risk investment. So what this means is that the American economy has decoupled itself from the Asian economy, from the Latin American and African economies. The Americans have decoupled and yet America is not self-sufficient. It relies on foreign countries, especially China and other Asian countries, for its industrial exports and it relies on Russia for much of its helium, titanium, iridium, palladium… all of these exports which it’s not going to be getting anymore. So America has basically committed trade suicide and economic suicide. Russia seems to have lost the $300 billion but on the other hand it now gets to compensate itself with all of the foreign investments that are in Russia, that it’s picking up, and its position in the world affairs as a trustworthy economy has gone way, way up relative to the United States.

    PS: Russia, China and India are among the countries which are now calling for a new, multi-polar world order – without a strong reliance on the US and its allies. Does that seem like a realistic scenario to you?

    MH: Well, the crisis is going to come this summer. Now that you have oil and food prices and shipping rates go way, you’re going to have Latin America, Africa and much of Asia have tremendous balance-of-payment deficit. These balance-of-trade deficits for oil, food and shipping are going to go hand-in-hand with huge foreign debts denominated in dollars for foreign bond holders and foreign banks. Something is going to give. What will probably give is massive debt defaults against American bondholders and against American banks. At this point, Russia, China and their allies can say, “We can create parallel institutions in the world. We can create our International Monetary Fund to give you credit. We can create our own World Bank to promote actual, positive developments and not dependency on the United States exporters. So the US policy has driven other countries into the Eurasian orbit of China, Russia, Iran will be joining, India will be along, Indonesia. All these countries now will have something that they never had before; they have their own critical mass. They can deal with each other and be self-sufficient. They don’t need the dollar anymore. That’s what makes today different from the 1970s when the third world countries and the non-aligned nations tried to create a new international economic order but couldn’t. They didn’t have enough scope in their economies. Now they have enough scope that they don’t need America. You’re going to find the rest of the world rushing away from the dollar area, leaving only Europe as part of the United States economy at great sacrifice of its own living standards.

    PS: Which countries do you think are gaining the most from the ongoing political and economic turmoil?

    MH: I don’t know if you can say win. I’d say Russia and China will be the big winners. Russia already is because the American sanctions against Russia have forced Russia to do something that it could have done half a century ago. It’s forced Russia to create its own consumer goods industry, its own industrial take off. Russia can now build its own plants, equipment and factories and hire its own labour to produce what it was buying from Europe before. So it won’t need Europe anymore. Europe has lost the Russian market. Without the Russian market, I don’t see where Europe can grow because the United States won’t let European goods into it. The United States is protectionist. Europe will be squeezed and ultimately it will end up moving into the Russian and Chinese orbits but it will take years of suffering before that occurs.

    PS: There’s a lot of talk on Western unity but it’s clear that there’s an economic price for this. Will the pain see countries follow Hungary and Serbia and say, enough is enough, we’re done with this.

    MH: Western unity is a one way unity. Western unity is the United States telling other countries, “Do what we tell you to.” If other countries don’t do what America tells it to, they’re treated like the enemy. Like Hungary has been treated as an enemy. There’s talk of how to punish Hungary. The Americans have no idea how to offer something to attract other countries to it. All the United States can do is, “We can bomb you if you don’t do what we say. We have nothing positive to offer you. We have no trade options to offer you. We have no investment to offer you that will not siphon off your income. All we can do is bomb you and threaten you and sanction you and try to hurt you.” That’s the only way the United States and now Europe can relate to the rest of the world. That’s a poisoned relating. It’s a way guaranteed to drive the rest of the world away.
    PS: Looking to a time after the war. What do you think the relationship between the US and Russia, or the EU and Russia look like?

    MH: Permanently hostile for 20 years until Europe collapses and until the United States goes into a long depression. There is no rapprochement. There will be no settlement because the United States industrial economy can only make military arms. The only thing the United States can offer other countries is bombers and military arms and weaponry. Not anything to raise the living standards. The situation in the United States will be one of increasing hostility towards the rest of the world. The great threat is that it will say, “Well, we’re just going to blow up the world.” The people who are in charge of US policy think that way, they’ve been thinking that way for 20 years. I’ve worked with these people before and they really are willing to blow up the world if they can’t turn the other world into dependencies. That’s a real danger for the rest of the world and it’s forcing it to withdraw from the US orbit. I think it was Henry Kissinger who said that, “To be an enemy of America can be dangerous, but. “To be an enemy of America can be dangerous, but to be a friend is fatal.” Well, the US friend who’s really in danger is Europe. The enemies are going to do OK because they’re at least friends with each other.

    1. Joe Well

      Is there anything any of us in the belly of the beast can do?

      I know politics is a dead end because you vote for Bernie and the Squad and Raytheon gets $40 billion to kill Ukrainians and Russians.

      Paradoxically, the isolation of the West means that Westerners need to double down on the West because even though we’re on a sinking ship, the rest of the world now has the precedent and the motivation to kick us off their ships. And if you think that the US has a tendency toward xenophobia, you have to see the anti-immigrant attitudes of every country on earth outside the Five Eyes.

      PS It’s been commented on NC before that the pandemic has accelerated the slide of US R&D relative to East Asian countries that controlled the virus. So much for exporting innovation.

    2. Mikel

      You know what I’m going to be looking for as a tell-tale sign that there are parts of the world ready to exert their soveriegnity?

      When the elites of those countries stop sending their kids to the elite universities in North America and Europe.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Perhaps they send their elites here to spy and . . . . steal secrets and knowledge while we still have secrets and knowledge left to steal . . . . and take inventory over what to steal and divide when they conquer and colonize America the way William the Bastard and his Norman Pirates conquered Saxon England. ( Or the way the last round of non-Indian non-Natives conquered and colonized America starting a few centuries ago).

    3. Left in Wisconsin

      Question: China exported $500 billion in goods to U.S. in 2021, highest ever, and U.S. allegedly exported $150 billion in goods to China, also highest ever. What does U.S. – China decoupling look like? It seems impossible to me, from either country’s perspective.

    4. anon in so cal

      Very ominous for the EU and the US. Looks as though the situation will begin to fully unravel this summer.
      As you note, those running the US seem open to taking the rest of the world down with the US.

    5. Glen

      Thank you for the additional out takes, and all your work keeping us informed over the years.

      I remain astonished with the decisions of the leadership of America and the EU. I don’t think they understand that their very actions have completely sunk the economic system that keep America on top even as the real wealth of the country (the real wealth of any country), it’s people and their future, were bled dry.

      They seem to still think that America can re-emerge as some sort of industrial giant after they have spent four decades dismantling what made it an industrial giant. I’m referring to more than just the very real industries that have been gutted in the US. They have also wrecked the middle class, the very well educated and motivated blue collar and white collar people that they need to make the country function. They have destroyed the excellent and very inexpensive trade schools and universities. They have made basic housing not affordable, and turned heath care into a suck all the money out of sick people nightmare. They have neglected our infrastructure, and allowed us to become a third world country.

      I just do not know what they are thinking anymore.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        They are not concerned about “America”. They are concerned about how much fungible moveable money they can take out of America-in-decline, and they are thinking about where to move themselves and the money when they decide to get out of Dodge.

        Here is an example of that kind of thinking applied by one of America’s rulers.
        The Bush family doesn’t consider “America” to be their country or their problem. Their family predates “America” and they expect their family to outlast “America” as a world-oligarch dynastic family. So why not prepare a base for future operations in Paraguay?

        Now you know “what they are thinking anymore” . . . . if you are prepared to dare to permit yourself to see and to know just what it really is that they ” are thinking anymore.”

        1. anon y'mouse

          yes, i look on this as the inability to tell what sociopaths and psychopaths will do. most “normies” can’t do it.

          some of us were raised around them and being predated upon by them from an early age, so were forced to anticipate and thus internally simulate their thought processes enough to keep ourselves alive and out of trouble. but it leaves a very dark stain in the psyche that i’m sure normies want no part of.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            I remember once reading a little article Henry Kissinger wrote about this. Why could most people not see the extremism building and rising around them? Because normies are not extremist and are not capable of admitting to seeing extremism when they see it.

            Today’s search obstruction engines are so frustrating that I won’t even try to find this article.

    6. Anthony G Stegman

      The most thoughtful analyses can and often are rendered obsolete by black swan events. Or by divine intervention. Never forget that God blesses America.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Maybe God will start blessing Turtle Island instead. Maybe we should start Getting Right with our Local Indians just in case that happens.

  10. David in Santa Cruz

    Thank you for the outtake, Prof. Hudson.

    This is all absolutely chilling. The sociopaths who have wormed their way into “leading” the U.S. in economic and foreign policy are completely divorced from reality.

    This comes as no surprise to me. Simply turn on an American television set or streaming service to see that the infliction of suffering and the commission of acts of random violence pass as “entertainment” in this culture. Bullying, lying, and disparagement of others are seen as “powerful.” Mass murder is practiced by both the state and the individual. Kindness and honesty are dismissed as “weakness” and unworthy.

    This is the evil legacy of a nation founded on an extreme caste system based on human slavery and exploitation and the glorification of avarice and greed. China and Russia have finally arisen from the ashes of their revolutions and can present an alternative to America based on common interests and the rule of law.

    1. futility

      I concur with the description of US mentality, but the idea that Russia or China are vanguards of common interests and the rule of law is just ridiculous. These countries are simply run by a different set of sociopaths with different believe systems who will only be kept in check by a balance of power system which a multipolar world could provide if only our elites could be made to see the world realistically.

      1. David in Santa Cruz

        I’m seeing the pronouncements from the autocrats ruling China and Russia showing a greater understanding of the importance of a law-based order. None of the BRICS nations are “democratic” in the western liberal sense, but over the past decade China and Russia have become far more legalistic.

        Of course, over-population and carrying-capacity driven climate change may soon render all their laws moot…

        1. anon y'mouse

          U.S. looting is “legalistic” too.

          law is made by a certain set of humans primarily to divide the spoils among themselves, with the veneer of “fairness”. much similar to religion that way.

          that’s how we ended up this way, in Neoliberal 4th circle of Hell. best to keep this in mind and not get too idealistic about what “systems of law” can do.

        2. Futility

          The pronouncements of these autocrats for sure do sound as if infused with a better understanding of a law-based order and in stark contrast to the statements of, say, the US government precisely because the latter so flagrantly disobeys the rules. But do they really believe it or is it just a ploy necessary due to their relative weakness? Judging from how they apply or better mis-apply the law against internal critics, I do have doubts about their sincerity. If one decries the illegal invasion of Iraq (as was equally obvious at the time), one has to equally decry the illegal invasion of Ukraine regardless of how the West tried to goad Russia to attack.
          A worldwide standard of law could only be established if the UN would finally become a truly democratic institution without any arbitrary vetos. Just ask Africa, how they see the so-called “rules based order”.

          1. Grebo

            Russia claims legal cover under article 51 of the UN charter. It may be arguable but it’s not as obviously illegal as the invasion of Iraq. In fact the way they waited for LDNR to declare independence, be recognised, then ask for help was highly legalistic.

      2. orlbucfan

        “I concur with the description of US mentality, but the idea that Russia or China are vanguards of common interests and the rule of law is just ridiculous. These countries are simply run by a different set of sociopaths….”
        I agree.

          1. Futility

            cynic: “A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be. …” (Ambrose Bierce, “The devil’s dictionary”)

            I take no pleasure in pointing this out but to rely on China’s or Russia’s benevolence is a false hope. In the end they pursue their self-interest without regards for others, as do we. (but who are “we” and “they” exactly? The objectives of the respective elites might not often align with the goals of the common citizen. We (the citizens) can only hope that the system remains in some metastable state for as long as possible.)

  11. Eclair

    The level of vitriol and venom recently employed by US politicians and ‘diplomats’ when they speak of Russia/Putin (and, to a lesser extent, China) has left me feeling distressed and uneasy. At a basic level, how can a county make use of ‘diplomacy’ when its leaders constantly spew hatred against other nations and their leaders? One thing when the US talks of crushing small, basically defenseless countries, such as Iraq and Syria and Libya and Afghanistan and various remote African nations, but, really, taking on Russia and China?

    I was raised Irish/American Catholic and attended parochial school. We were actively taught that ‘non-Catholics’ were wrong, damned to Hell, and to be avoided at all costs. Unless we were engaged in converting them to the ‘one true faith.’ Oh, and Communism was EVIL. Because they were atheists.

    The Catholic Church supported The Inquisition in its various forms, sanctioning and even burning ‘heretics,’ i.e., anyone who deviated from the approved teachings.

    This atmosphere of ‘us’ and ‘them,’ of support for an ideology-that-must-be-adhered-to-without-question, is what I feel is around us now. The anti-Communist reactionaries, culminating in the McCarthy hearings, of the 1950’s were a dress rehearsal for our current situation.

    I was always uncomfortable with the efforts of my teachers and priests to convince me that that was only one true faith and everyone else must be converted or be doomed to Hell. So, I became an atheist as soon as possible. Told my parents I was going to marry a Protestant atheist Jew. (OK, a bit of an over-reaction! If I were doing it today, I would declare for a Protestant atheist Jewish woman. ) Unfortunately, in the current situation, it is impossible to to disavow my country. I can only keep my head down, weep occasionally, and cultivate my garden.

    1. anon in so cal

      Putin has steadily poured funds back into the nation’s infrastructure and improved the lives of ordinary Russians: 10 trillion investment in RU’s infrastructure, factories, shipyards, roads, bridges,
      improved lives of ordinary Russians: schools, hospitals, agriculture, small businesses, life expectancy increased, etc. Smearing and vilifying a foreign leader/nation targeted for takedown seems to be a standard tactic.


    2. futility

      Yes, and it is extremely dangerous with an opponent who can also destroy the world. It lays bare the incompetence of our elites. They are believing their own propaganda. It is quite unnerving.

  12. Dick Swenson


    michael hudson
    May 20, 2022 at 12:52 pm


    Katharina Pistor’s book The Code of Capital discusses how ‘capital’ is defined, created, and prevented from being lost. If the US loses dollar hegemony, then it will lose the ability to defend the idea of capital. Then the US will surely lose its role as the center of capitalism. Then ??????

    Pistor is a good read.

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