Michael Hudson: Germany’s Position in America’s New World Order

Yves here. Michael Hudson continues and extends his discussion about how Germany, more than any other US ally, is destroying economy to support US interests against Russia. Hudson compares the US dominance of NATO members to the Great Schism of 1054, in which Pope Leo IX excommunicated the Orthodox Church. In 1074, Pope Gregory VII announced 27 papal dictates requiring kings to subordinate themselves to Rome. The parallels to the modern US claims of authority over other countries are striking.

Please thank Michael for allowing us to run this speech shortly after he delivered it.

By Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. His latest book is The Destiny of Civilization.

Germany has become an economic satellite of America’s New Cold War with Russia, China and the rest of Eurasia. Germany and other NATO countries have been told to impose trade and investment sanctions upon themselves that will outlast today’s proxy war in Ukraine. U.S. President Biden and his State Department spokesmen have explained that Ukraine is just the opening arena in a much broader dynamic that is splitting the world into two opposing sets of economic alliances. This global fracture promises to be a ten- or twenty-year struggle to determine whether the world economy will be a unipolar U.S.-centered dollarized economy, or a multipolar, multi-currency world centered on the Eurasian heartland with mixed public/private economies.

President Biden has characterized this split as being between democracies and autocracies. The terminology is typical Orwellian double-speak. By “democracies” he means the U.S. and allied Western financial oligarchies. Their aim is to shift economic planning out of the hands of elected governments to Wall Street and other financial centers under U.S. control.  U.S. diplomats use the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to demand privatization of the world’s infrastructure and dependency on U.S. technology, oil and food exports.

By “autocracy,” Biden means countries resisting this financialization and privatization takeover. In practice, U.S. rhetoric means promoting its own economic growth and living standards, keeping finance and banking as public utilities. What basically is at issue is whether economies will be planned by banking centers to create financial wealth – by privatizing basic infrastructure, public utilities and social services such as health care into monopolies – or by raising living standards and prosperity by keeping banking and money creation, public health, education, transportation and communications in public hands.

The country suffering the most “collateral damage” in this global fracture is Germany. As Europe’s most advanced industrial economy, German steel, chemicals, machinery, automotives and other consumer goods are the most highly dependent on imports of Russian gas, oil and metals from aluminum to titanium and palladium. Yet despite two Nord Stream pipelines built to provide Germany with low-priced energy, Germany has been told to cut itself off from Russian gas and de-industrialize. This means the end of its economic preeminence. The key to GDP growth in Germany, as in other countries, is energy consumption per worker.

These anti-Russian sanctions make today’s New Cold War inherently anti-German. U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has said that Germany should replace low-priced Russian pipeline gas with high-priced U.S. LNG gas. To import this gas, Germany will have to spend over $5 billion quickly to build port capacity to handle LNG tankers. The effect will be to make German industry uncompetitive. Bankruptcies will spread, employment will decline, and Germany’s pro-NATO leaders will impose a chronic depression and falling living standards.

Most political theory assumes that nations will act in their own self-interest. Otherwise they are satellite countries, not in control of their own fate. Germany is subordinating its industry and living standards to the dictates of U.S. diplomacy and the self-interest of America’s oil and gas sector. It is doing this voluntarily – not because of military force but out of an ideological belief that the world economy should be run by U.S. Cold War planners.

Sometimes it is easier to understand today’s dynamics by stepping away from one’s own immediate situation to look at historical examples of the kind of political diplomacy that one sees splitting today’s world. The closest parallel that I can find is medieval Europe’s fight by the Roman papacy against German kings – the Holy Roman Emperors – in the 13th century. That conflict split Europe along lines much like those of today. A series of popes excommunicated Frederick II and other German kings and mobilized allies to fight against Germany and its control of southern Italy and Sicily.

Western antagonism against the East was incited by the Crusades (1095-1291), just as today’s Cold War is a crusade against economies threatening U.S. dominance of the world. The medieval war against Germany was over who should control Christian Europe: the papacy, with the popes becoming worldly emperors, or secular rulers of individual kingdoms by claiming the power to morally legitimize and accept them.

Medieval Europe’s analogue to America’s New Cold War against China and Russia was the Great Schism in 1054. Demanding unipolar control over Christendom, Leo IX excommunicated the Orthodox Church centered in Constantinople and the entire Christian population that belonged to it. A single bishopric, Rome, cut itself off from the entire Christian world of the time, including the ancient Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople and Jerusalem.

This break-away created a political problem for Roman diplomacy: How to hold all the Western European kingdoms under its control and claim the right for financial subsidy from them. That aim required subordinating secular kings to papal religious authority. In 1074, Gregory VII, Hildebrand, announced 27 Papal Dictates outlining the administrative strategy for Rome to lock in its power over Europe.

These papal demands are strikingly parallel to today’s U.S. diplomacy. In both cases military and worldly interests require a sublimation in the form of an ideological crusading spirit to cement the sense of solidarity that any system of imperial domination requires. The logic is timeless and universal.

The Papal Dictates were radical in two major ways. First of all, they elevated the bishop of Rome above all other bishoprics, creating the modern papacy. Clause 3 ruled that the pope alone had the power of investiture to appoint bishops or to depose or reinstate them. Reinforcing this, Clause 25 gave the right of appointing (or deposing) bishops to the pope, not to local rulers. And Clause 12 gave the pope the right to depose emperors, following Clause 9, obliging “all princes to kiss the feet of the Pope alone” in order to be deemed legitimate rulers.

Likewise today, U.S. diplomats claim the right to name who should be recognized as a nation’s head of state. In 1953 they overthrew Iran’s elected leader and replaced him with the Shah’s military dictatorship. That principle gives U.S. diplomats the right to sponsor “color revolutions” for regime-change, such as their sponsorship of Latin American military dictatorships creating client oligarchies to serve U.S. corporate and financial interests. The 2014 coup in Ukraine is just the latest exercise of this U.S. right to appoint and depose leaders.

More recently, U.S. diplomats have appointed Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s head of state instead of its elected president, and turned over that country’s gold reserves to him. President Biden has insisted that Russia must remove Putin and put a more pro-U.S. leader in his place. This “right” to select heads of state has been a constant in U.S. policy spanning its long history of political meddling in European political affairs since World War II.

The second radical feature of the Papal Dictates was their exclusion of all ideology and policy that diverged from papal authority. Clause 2 stated that only the Pope could be called “Universal.” Any disagreement was, by definition, heretical. Clause 17 stated that no chapter or book could be considered canonical without papal authority.

A similar demand as is being made by today’s U.S.-sponsored ideology of financialized and privatized “free markets,” meaning deregulation of government power to shape economies in interests other than those of U.S.-centered financial and corporate elites.

The demand for universality in today’s New Cold War is cloaked in the language of “democracy.” But the definition of democracy in today’s New Cold War is simply “pro-U.S.,” and specifically neoliberal privatization as the U.S.-sponsored new economic religion. This ethic is deemed to be “science,” as in the quasi-Nobel Memorial Prize in the Economic Sciences. That is the modern euphemism for neoliberal Chicago-School junk economics, IMF austerity programs and tax favoritism for the wealthy.

The Papal Dictates spelt out a strategy for locking in unipolar control over secular realms. They asserted papal precedence over worldly kings, above all over Germany’s Holy Roman Emperors. Clause 26 gave popes authority to excommunicate whomever was “not at peace with the Roman Church.” That principle implied the concluding Claus 27, enabling the pope to “absolve subjects from their fealty to wicked men.” This encouraged the medieval version of “color revolutions” to bring about regime change.

What united countries in this solidarity was an antagonism to societies not subject to centralized papal control – the Moslem Infidels who held Jerusalem, and also the French Cathars and anyone else deemed to be a heretic. Above all there was hostility toward regions strong enough to resist papal demands for financial tribute.

Today’s counterpart to such ideological power to excommunicate heretics resisting demands for obedience and tribute would be the World Trade Organization, World Bank and IMF dictating economic practices and setting “conditionalities” for all member governments to follow, on pain of U.S. sanctions – the modern version of excommunication of countries not accepting U.S. suzerainty. Clause 19 of the Dictates ruled that the pope could be judged by no one – just as today, the United States refuses to subject its actions to rulings by the World Court. Likewise today, U.S. dictates via NATO and other arms (such as the IMF and World Bank) are expected to be followed by U.S. satellites without question. As Margaret Thatcher said of her neoliberal privatization that destroyed Britain’s public sector, There Is No Alternative (TINA).

My point is to emphasize the analogy with today’s U.S. sanctions against all countries not following its own diplomatic demands. Trade sanctions are a form of excommunication. They reverse the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia’s principle that made each country and its rulers independent from foreign meddling. President Biden characterizes U.S. interference as ensuring his new antithesis between “democracy” and “autocracy.” By democracy he means a client oligarchy under U.S. control, creating financial wealth by reducing living standards for labor, as opposed to mixed public/private economies aiming at promoting living standards and social solidarity.

As I have mentioned, by excommunicating the Orthodox Church centered in Constantinople and its Christian population, the Great Schism created the fateful religious dividing line that has split “the West” from the East for the past millennium. That split was so important that Vladimir Putin cited it as part of his September 30, 2022 speech describing today’s break away from the U.S. and NATO centered Western economies.

The 12th and 13th centuries saw Norman conquerors of England, France and other countries, along with German kings, protest repeatedly, be excommunicated repeatedly, yet ultimately succumb to papal demands. It took until the 16th century for Martin Luther, Zwingli and Henry VIII finally to create a Protestant alternative to Rome, making Western Christianity multi-polar.

Why did it take so long? The answer is that the Crusades provided an organizing ideological gravity. That was the medieval analogy to today’s New Cold War between East and West. The Crusades created a spiritual focus of “moral reform” by mobilizing hatred against “the other” – the Moslem East, and increasingly Jews and European Christian dissenters from Roman control. That was the medieval analogy to today’s neoliberal “free market” doctrines of America’s financial oligarchy and its hostility to China, Russia and other nations not following that ideology. In today’s New Cold War, the West’s neoliberal ideology is mobilizing fear and hatred of “the other,” demonizing nations that follow an independent path as “autocratic regimes.” Outright racism is fostered toward entire peoples, as evident in the Russophobia and Cancel Culture currently sweeping the West.

Just as Western Christianity’s multi-polar transition required the 16th century’s Protestant alternative, the Eurasian heartland’s break from the bank-centered NATO West must be consolidated by an alternative ideology regarding how to organize mixed public/private economies and their financial infrastructure.

Medieval churches in the West were drained of their alms and endowments to contribute Peter’s Pence and other subsidy to the papacy for the wars it was fighting against rulers who resisted papal demands. England played the role of major victim that Germany plays today. Enormous English taxes were levied ostensibly to finance the Crusades were diverted to fight Frederick II, Conrad and Manfred in Sicily. That diversion was financed by papal bankers from northern Italy (Lombards and Cahorsins), and became royal debts passed down throughout the economy. England’s barons waged a civil war against Henry II in the 1260s, ending his complicity in sacrificing the economy to papal demands.

What ended the papacy’s power over other countries was the ending of its war against the East. When the Crusaders lost Acre, the capital of Jerusalem in 1291, the papacy lost its control over Christendom. There was no more “evil” to fight, and the “good” had lost its center of gravity and coherence. In 1307, France’s Philip IV (“the Fair”) seized the Church’s great military banking order’s wealth, that of the Templars in the Paris Temple. Other rulers also nationalized the Templars, and monetary systems were taken out of the hands of the Church. Without a common enemy defined and mobilized by Rome, the papacy lost its unipolar ideological power over Western Europe.

The modern equivalent to the rejection of the Templars and papal finance would be for countries to withdraw from America’s New Cold War. They would reject the dollar standard and the U.S. banking and financial system. that is happening as more and more countries see Russia and China not as adversaries but as presenting great opportunities for mutual economic advantage.

The Broken Promise of Mutual Gain Between Germany and Russia

The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 promised an end to the Cold War. The Warsaw Pact was disbanded, Germany was reunified, and American diplomats promised an end to NATO, because a Soviet military threat no longer existed. Russian leaders indulged in the hope that, as President Putin expressed it, a new pan-European economy would be created from Lisbon to Vladivostok. Germany in particular was expected to take the lead in investing in Russia and restructuring its industry along more efficient lines. Russia would pay for this technology transfer by supplying gas and oil, along with nickel, aluminum, titanium and palladium.

There was no anticipation that NATO would be expanded to threaten a New Cold War, much less that it would back Ukraine, recognized as the most corrupt kleptocracy in Europe, into being led by extremist parties identifying themselves by German Nazi insignia.

How do we explain why the seemingly logical potential of mutual gain between Western Europe and the former Soviet economies turned into a sponsorship of oligarchic kleptocracies. The Nord Stream pipeline’s destruction capsulizes the dynamics in a nutshell. For almost a decade a constant U.S. demand has been for Germany to reject its reliance on Russian energy. These demands were opposed by Gerhardt Schroeder, Angela Merkel and German business leaders. They pointed to the obvious economic logic of mutual trade of German manufactures for Russian raw materials.

The U.S. problem was how to stop Germany from approving the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Victoria Nuland, President Biden and other U.S. diplomats demonstrated that the way to do that was to incite a hatred of Russia. The New Cold War was framed as a new Crusade. That was how George W. Bush had described America’s attack on Iraq to seize its oil wells. The U.S.-sponsored 2014 coup created a puppet Ukrainian regime that has spent eight years bombing of the Russian-speaking Eastern provinces. NATO thus incited a Russian military response. The incitement was successful, and the desired Russian response was duly labeled an unprovoked atrocity. Its protection of civilians was depicted in the NATO-sponsored media as being so offensive as to deserve the trade and investment sanctions that have been imposed since February. That is what a Crusade means.

The result is that the world is splitting in two camps: the U.S.-centered NATO, and the emerging Eurasian coalition. One byproduct of this dynamic has been to leave Germany unable to pursue the economic policy of mutually advantageous trade and investment relations with Russia (and perhaps also China). German Chancellor Olaf Sholz is going to China this week to demand that it dismantle is public sector and stops subsidizing its economy, or else Germany and Europe will impose sanctions on trade with China. There is no way that China could meet this ridiculous demand, any more than the United States or any other industrial economy would stop subsidizing their own computer-chip and other key sectors.[1] The German Council on Foreign Relations is a neoliberal “libertarian” arm of NATO demanding German de-industrialization and dependency on the United States for its trade, excluding China, Russia and their allies. This promises to be the final nail in Germany’s economic coffin.

Another byproduct of America’s New Cold War has been to end any international plan to stem global warming. A keystone of U.S. economic diplomacy is for its oil companies and those of its NATO allies to control the world’s oil and gas supply – that is, to reduce dependence on carbon-based fuels. That is what the NATO war in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan and Ukraine was about. It is not as abstract as “Democracies vs. Autocracies.” It is about the U.S. ability to harm other countries by disrupting their access to energy and other basic needs.

Without the New Cold War’s “good vs. evil” narrative, U.S. sanctions will lose their raison d’etre in this U.S. attack on environmental protection, and on mutual trade between Western Europe and Russia and China. That is the context for today’s fight in Ukraine, which is to be merely the first step in the anticipated 20 year fight by the US to prevent the world from becoming multipolar. This process will lock Germany and Europe into dependence on the U.S. supplies of LNG.

The trick is to try and convince Germany that it is dependent on the United States for its military security. What Germany really needs protection from is the U.S. war against China and Russia that is marginalizing and “Ukrainianizing” Europe.

There have been no calls by Western governments for a negotiated end to this war, because no war has been declared in Ukraine. The United States does not declare war anywhere, because that would require a Congressional declaration under the U.S. Constitution. So U.S. and NATO armies bomb, organize color revolutions, meddle in domestic politics (rendering the 1648 Westphalia agreements obsolete), and impose the sanctions that are tearing Germany and its European neighbors apart.

How can negotiations “end” a war that either has no declaration of war, and is a long-term strategy of total unipolar world domination?

The answer is that no ending can come until an alternative to the present U.S.-centered set of international institutions is replaced. That requires the creation of new institutions reflecting an alternative to the neoliberal bank-centered view that economies should be privatized with central planning by financial centers. Rosa Luxemburg characterized the choice as being between socialism and barbarism. I have sketched out the political dynamics of an alternative in my recent book, The Destiny of Civilization.


This paper was presented on November 1, 2022. on the German e-site
. A video of my talk will be available on YouTube in about ten days.

[1] See Guntram Wolff, “Sholz should send an explicit message on his visit to Beijing,” Financial Times, October 31, 2022. Wolff is the director and CE of the German Council on Foreign Relations.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Tom Pfotzer

    Thank you Michael Hudson for writing this piece and granting NC the privilege of promulgating it. This is a phenomenal piece, and no one but Michael Hudson could have written it.


    A while back, I saw a dialog between Ralph Nader and Michael Hudson, and Mr. Nader suggested that that the term “neoliberal” has little meaning to most people, and using that term doesn’t do much to educate or mobilize the public.

    The term “neoliberal” isn’t doing it’s job. The task for a term or label is to clearly name and define a phenomenon. The word should tell almost anyone, regardless of their prior knowledge of a subject, what the term means: what it symbolizes.

    In marketing-speak, our brand is very weak. Our symbols – our “brands” – don’t mean anything to the “customer”, so they’re not buying. Yet.

    How can you mobilize a public when they don’t understand what we’re talking about?

    Consider this thesis paragraph of the article:

    What basically is at issue is whether economies will be planned by banking centers to create financial wealth – by privatizing basic infrastructure, public utilities and social services such as health care into monopolies – or by raising living standards and prosperity by keeping banking and money creation, public health, education, transportation and communications in public hands.

    That’s the concept that needs to be delivered. It’s clear, simple, accurate, and thorough. Anyone can understand it.

    Now we need some simple, clear branding which encapsulates this concept.

    Then we need simple, clear, messaging that supports the brand. 10 or less supporting assertions.

    And then we need endless repetition and promulgation of it. Massive outreach.

    Martin Luther Nails His Thesis to the Church Door

    Great brand, simple concepts, tight, clear elaboration anyone can understand, and in-your-face delivery system.


    A quote from that Ralph Nader – Michael Hudson interview:

    Ralph Nader asks:

    …do you know anybody around the country who works with their hands or their computers, who know what neoliberalism means? In one of your interviews, you gave numerous definitions, which were hard to remember. What you really mean by neoliberalism is corporate domination of our political economy from A to Z. I know you can spell it out. How are you going to overcome the communication problem? Progressive economists don’t use simple statements as what they’re for.

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      BIL asked me why i dont go whole hig w chicken bidness.
      I gave nutshell version: bc tyson has it all locked up in a feudal arrangment where id be a sharecropper and vassal, assuming all risk while they dictate and rotinely screw me.
      Id rather be a gray/black market farmer, thank you.
      Im on fone, so cant do the fleshed out nutshell argument i use at feedstore, etc.
      But it works
      …one mind at a time.
      Paint a simple picture

    2. Earthling

      Yes! This is a huge problem. Neoliberal is a terrible moniker for what’s going on and puts a wall between policy experts and everyone else.

      I had a boss who dealt with elected officials constantly, and who said if you can’t express your point with a sentence on an index card, and have people understand it, you’re spinning your wheels.

      Sometimes I wish a bumper was long enough for a sticker to say “America is ruined because you gullible idiots keep going along with corporate crooks”. That’s clumsy too. Maybe we need an advertising genius to give the problem a 3 word handle.

      1. Eureka Springs

        Drop the Neo. Just – Liberal. Phil Ochs nailed it sixty years ago in a song with – Love Me I’m A Liberal. It’s the manner in which we discuss things which is the problem more than just the words. Because issues are dropped with a neo here and an innovative there.

        Another perfect example being the word- democracy- in this post. Should we start saying neo-democracy? I hope not. Fact is anyone voting at all in the U.S., England, France, Germany, Italy, for any person or party is simply legitimizing this system, this anti-democratic crusade. The false divide between conservative and liberal is maintained. Both L and C’s agree on all of this liberal crusade as much as they agree democracy will not happen.

        I don’t care if one gets here via liberal, conservative, monarchy or papal means, it’s just wrong. Any of these methods leave very few deciding humanities bloody fate. All while making sure TINA.

        I started asking myself while reading the post, where is Acre now? Is there a dot on the map that crucial? Could it be Langley? Is it Berlin? Is it Constantinople?

        1. Jessica

          If the fall of Acre removed the motivational linchpin holding the imperial papacy together, perhaps the analog today would be Kiev.

      2. Hayek's Heelbiter

        Why not call neoliberalism for what it is? Alas not original, but I agree with the sentiment. “Neo-feudalism.”

      3. eg

        I use market fundamentalism as another term for neoliberalism, though I know this only captures part of the regime.

        1. Skip Intro

          Market fundamentalism is good, I was thinking market cultism, although the the suggestion for ‘economic democracy’ as the counterpart is also compelling. I think this debate is way to important to languish in a thread, and I hope we can pick it up again.

          The defining blow, IMHO, of neoliberal TINA-totalitarianism is the philosophical then practical separation of economics from politics, so one feels markets are somehow external to democratic governance, when that governance provides the preconditions for these markets to exist. This is why I view the market religion aspect of neoliberalism as a good defining target.

    3. Tom Pfotzer

      Brand and supporting logic like:

      Brand: Economic Democracy.


      * economy that is designed, built and run of the people, by the people, and _for_ the people.

      * our taxes get used to buy the commons (public) infrastructure (schools, local econ training and facilities ) we need to help us design, build and own productive assets…just like the rich people have.

      * You rich people want war? You pay for it out of your own pocket, and you get your sorry ass onto the front line. We little people are buying butter, not guns.

      * focus of local economic development is continuous adult education, emphasis on technical training, with targeted new business formation serving the locally-produced food, energy, communications, education, health care, housing upgrades and materials re-use sectors. Build us the stuff _we_ need.

      * no money created unless and until the goods / productive assets are created. No new production / infrastructure investment? Then no new money. No more bubbles to benefit rich people. No more mis-allocation. Whether credit issued publicly or privately, that’s the rule.


      What brand and platform do you think we should use?

    4. Karl

      “Neoliberalism” is “neo” + “Liberalism”. Everyone knows what the first part means. “Liberalism” is hard because it describes an intellectual movement that blossomed in enlightenment Europe. A lot of it is embodied in the U.S. Constitution’s emphasis on individual freedom of thought and speech. The “neo” part describes Liberalism’s hardening into an ideology.

      Perhaps we need a word that describes, not an ideology, but the economic/military/cultural gestalt it is leading to. Neoliberalism leads to oligarchic concentration and, to preserve this, autocracy. But as Hudson points out, an additional condition is needed: hegemonic economic and cultural expansionism. You can see this phenomenon in the West as early as Alexander the Great. He expanded the reach of Greece as far as India. The hegemonic Catholic Church was not just a unifying economic force but a universalizing cultural and spiritual force. As Carl Popper explained in his book “The Open Society and its Enemies” this universalizing, unitary conception goes as far back as Plato.

      The most recent expression of where we’re headed, I think, is Mussolini’s Italy.

      So, for a word: How about Neo-Fascism? This describes the historical “hardening” process at work, and the nature of its eventual realization. While Fascism as a concept is not widely understood, most understand where it leads because it has numerous historical precedents with a warning: Democracy tends to succumb to messianic autocracy, militarism and ultimately war. We saw this in ancient Greece after Alexander, and Rome after Augustus.

      Some systems never enter a Democratic phase and are always autocratic. Russian Tsarism has long considered itself the “Orthodox Third Rome” after the fall of Constantinople. Russia, under Putin, now leads an oligarchic autocracy in this tradition. China may well now be an oligarchic autocracy. To the extent that Russia and Xi are now seeking to deliberately expand empire (e.g. “Silk and Road”) they are already Neo-Fascist States.

      So, the world is now hardening into a battle of Neo-Fascisms = Capitalism + Oligarchic Concentration + Autocracy + Messianic Expansionism.

      1. BeliTsari

        “Upwards-redistribution,” nice economy, you’ve got there. Be ashamed, if the free Market or concerted action & WEF media impacted it adversely? Fuck you, PAY me?

    5. paul m whalen

      Capitalism is a purely cultic religion, without dogma. Capitalism itself developed parasitically on Christianity in the West–not in Calvinism alone, but also, as must be shown, in the remaining orthodox Christian movements – in such a way that, in the end, its history is essentially the history of its parasites, of capitalism. Compare the holy iconography [Heiligenbildern] of various religions on the one hand with the banknotes of various countries on the other: The spirit that speaks from the ornamentation of banknotes.
      Walter Benjamin 1921

    6. fairleft

      ‘Neoliberal’ is fine because people aren’t stupid. Best to focus on the two real problems. One, large corporate coalitions, especially finance and arms industries, run the collective West and such coalitions always do that badly and in a way that hurts the bottom 80%. Two, the mass communication system doesn’t allow ‘One’ to be communicated to the bottom 80%.

      Solving the above being impossible for now, perhaps the neoliberal-controlled collective West will be ousted the painful way, through economic hardship for its people and humiliation on the battlefield.

    7. elkern

      “NeoLiberal” is technically an Econ term, but it’s far more useful as a (US) political [pejorative] term. It links the [Hillary] Clinton wing of the Democratic Party with the NeoCons who gleefully orchestrated the US invasion if Iraq. This shines light on the links between (US) Foreign Policy, (US) Militarism, and (US/Global) Corporatism/Oligarchy, so it’s a useful way to frame things for people with “Progressive” tendencies.

      (I think I’m something of a Wittgensteinian Chompksist (though I’ve never tried to read anything by either of them), in that I view linguistics as a really important tool for making sense of politics).

    8. fairleft

      People with perspectives that the mass communication system disappears and then mischaracterizes negatively often feel a part of ‘their’ problem is terminology. It isn’t. It’s that the mass communication system, controlled by the obvious suspects, mischaracterizes or disappears the perspective you hold.

      Shifting from ‘neoliberal’ to a label that more fully and exactly communicates what you mean (labels aren’t meant to do that) is definitely the path to even greater obscurity, forcing the people we are attempting to persuade to learn a new imperfect label for the long-established set of ideas known as ‘neoliberal’.

    9. Smelly Unemployed Person

      There is already a great term for what is going on in the Western Democratratic Govenments:


    10. Cathy

      Perfect comment. I am very familiar with the term “neoliberal” but if pressed would have a difficult time providing a succinct definition. It needs to be spelled out like Hudson has done each and every time.

  2. meadows

    Thank you Michael Hudson for this critically important historical context to the current context. While the framing is (and was historically) supposedly ideologically of the highest moral/spiritual nature, in reality (as now) the reality is the base power of economic control. A primitive human desire, to control others, must be dressed up in ideological clothes because people really prefer mutual cooperation, tolerance and communality… unless propagandized otherwise.

    Will Germans wake up? Hopefully. Their gov’t seems unable to.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Rapid economic degradation makes people react, but Scholz has dug himself a hole. If he had a strategy it was Putin would be overthrown before US righteousness.

      I suspect Scholz is the Chancellor of West Germany Plus and not Chancellor of Germany and dominant player in the EU. Poland is going on about reparations. I can’t see them doing that against Merkel. When the story is told of December and January of 2021/2022, it will be a story about Scholz conceding to US polite requests. Scholz just wants to be a good dog.

    2. Tim

      I’ve been told that the polls show Germans are very scared of Russia. If that is truly the case, then the current outcome is to have been expected. We (the US) have played our hand perfectly.

    3. Fritz Flukenhoff

      Hell, all the NATO countries have to wake up. Engineering a coup where the US through Wall Street and the Finance Industry will own and control infrastructure including health and education is deliberately de- knackering today’s USA allies. Some ally we “Western Democracies” have with the US. Oh, and New Zealand and Australia, you are also in line for this takeover by the US.
      sScrew you, Yanks! DF

  3. dingusansich

    Ukraine as crusade; sanctions as excommunication: historical slant rhymes worthy of the local laureates Antifa and Sardonia. Next up, Joe Biden as a Francis Bacon pope. Time to fire up the AI …

  4. Mark Gisleson

    This does feel/smell very much like a holy war, at least for the folks driving this unholy enterprise.

    I’ve always loved the term precariat to describe the financially vulnerable. At present it appears we are being led by prevaricats, compulsive liars who stand at the brink of being held electorally accountable (assuming no last-second, election-canceling dictats are issued by the White House).

  5. Carolinian

    So to extend the comparison we are currently in the counter reformation with a pope who is not quite as corrupt as those 16th century popes but getting there. Perhaps the current assault on the US founders could be considered part of this process since, whatever their considerable flaws, their main Revolutionary concern was to create a government that would keep centralized power under control.

    And if that doesn’t work there’s always the reality of power that it destroys reason and itself with its excesses–and lots of innocent human beings along with it.

  6. The Rev Kev

    In reading this post, I was thinking of the generations of peasants who had to give some of what little that they had to go to the Pope and his Holy war for power because faith. And those generations of Crusaders and fighters who went to fight the Muslims in the middle East because the Pope told them it was their holy duty to do so. From our vantage point in the 21st century we can say how those people were either ignorant or simple or just plain corrupt. That they let themselves be played something chronic. That we are smarter and superior to our medieval ancestors and in fact they were actually our ancestors. So how come with all our smarts and access to information over the internet or even just common sense thinking, that the majority of people are being suckered by this new Neoliberal Holy War because ‘Putin is Evil’, m’kay? How stupid will we seem to our descendants?

    1. meadows

      “…the majority of people are being suckered by this new Neoliberal Holy War…”

      It is because we americans have for many generations been barraged by, buried in, surrounded with….. advertising! We take to propaganda (effective advertising) like ducks to water. Combined with the historical religious perfectionism that our early invader/founders brought with them… and generations later is embedded in our collective unconscious, we are ripe for the plucking.

      When I hear fellow citizens proclaiming they are not affected by propaganda, first off, they are deluded, and secondly, I think propaganda (considered by said fellow citizens) is thought generally to be like those huge posters in Mao’s China, exhorting the public to surrender their will to the collective good. Y’know, easily recognizeable. Big letters. Exclamation points. On white sheets.

      Well, we have all been snookered. The question is, “How complete/deep is the con and is it able to be unwound?”

    2. voislav

      Common people joining the crusades had a simple motive, to escape their current, miserable existence, which was little better than indentured servitude. Embarking on a crusade meant being released from their feudal obligations, which tied them to their land and their lord, and an opportunity to acquire status and wealth, however small.

      I find it interesting that the Crusaded stopped following a couple of major disasters, the Great Famine and Black Death, that hit Europe in early and mid-14th century. Depopulation caused by these led to great improvement in prosperity of the peasants and led to a period of internal strife in Europe, including many popular uprisings.

    3. John Zelnicker

      Rev – “I was thinking of the generations of peasants who had to give some of what little that they had to go to the Pope and his Holy war for power because faith.

      When I was in Rome while backpacking across Europe in 1971, I visited the Basilica in the Vatican.

      The first thought I had on seeing all the gold and incredible architecture was that it was paid for by the impoverished mothers with near-starving children around the world who felt compelled by their faith to give up some of their pittance to the Church.

      The image of what I believe is the gilded central pulpit with these huge gold and blue columns around it is burned into my memory with a deep sadness at the perversion of faith and belief that it represents.

    4. elkern

      At the time of the Crusades, the Islamic world was Civilized, and Europe was barbaric. Both were corrupt, but Europe had better excuses for this (ignorance, collective cognitive immaturity, etc). As a USAmerican, I appreciate the insane spirit of the Crusades – a kinda yahoo/banzai lashing out at The Powers That Be’d.

      Of course, the stated/imagined “reasons” for the Crusades all sound rather silly to us now.

      We will likely seem equivalently silly to our descendants, if we are lucky enough to have any.

  7. barefoot charley

    Thank you Michael Hudson for helping me believe my lyin’ eyes.

    But why would anybody believe Pope Joe? (Maybe because God blows stuff up on his say-so?)

  8. Oscar Peterson

    Interesting piece, and the parallels of the medieval Church and the modern papal edicts coming out of Washington seems broadly apt. But I don’t agree that the end of the Crusades in the Levant left the Church without an external enemy. What about Mohacs and Lepanto? And the sieges of Vienna in 1529 and 1683? And what about the role of the French state in subordinating the French church to it during the Middle Ages? Avignon?

    The difference now is that the US security state has capabilities in imposing its will that the Catholic Church never had. But the Chinese state has its own formidable capabilities.

    In any case, where is the emerging tension between Macron and Scholtz in Hudson’s thesis? Germany is now outbidding the rest of Europe for energy as Asia has been outbidding Europe (although Europe was insulated by cheap Russian energy until recently.) Macron seems to want a more Euro-nationalist stance, opposing both the US and Chinese dominance strategies. Macron and Scholz, I understand, are barely speaking to each other.

    Germany is now submissive to the US vis a vis Russia but not yet fully vis a vis China (see Hamburg port deal.) Perhaps a bomb will blow up the Chinese investment in Hamburg?

    Germany has been unable to resolve its reliance on Russia energy and its deference to aggressive US policy to detach it from Russia. Scholtz was the chancellor in office when the music stopped.

    Europe seems generally quite hapless and divided–UK having stumbled and bumbled out of the EU, Poland and Eastern Europe aligning with the US-led campaign to subordinate any dissidence among the major European countries, and even France and Germany unable to work effectively together.

    If it is fully tamed by the US, how strong a weapon will the US really have forged in its quest to retain “world primacy”?

    1. fjallstrom

      I think the Western schism in the 14th and 15th centuries, with popes in both Rome and Avignon, has a rather interesting ending. The split gave rise to conciliarism, which held that the congregation of the faithful was the universal church, and had the right to depose both schisming popes. And not only that, it had the right to set church policy, which as we just read could be expanded to worldly affairs. There was a series of councils (priests, doctors of theology and higher ups in attendance, but in theory representing the whole congregation of the faithful), but gradually power over the church shifted back to the pope in Rome.

      However, the renaissance popes seems to have accepted that while they got to be filthy rich, temporal power was restricted to Rome and its surroundings. On the other hand, secular kings stopped appointing antipopes. Like some kind of class solidarity had informed both kings and popes that feuding to far could have bad consequences, and councils was a worrying thing. People might get ideas.

      And if anyone didn’t see this coming, the Russian word for council is soviet.

  9. GramSci

    Can anyone explain to me what Dr. Hudson meant when he wrote “A keystone of U.S. economic diplomacy is for its oil companies and those of its NATO allies to control the world’s oil and gas supply – that is, to reduce dependence on carbon-based fuels.” ?

    Thank you.

    1. Michaelmas

      GramSci: Can anyone explain to me what Dr. Hudson meant when he wrote “A keystone of U.S. economic diplomacy is for its oil companies and those of its NATO allies to control the world’s oil and gas supply – that is, to reduce dependence on carbon-based fuels.” ?

      It’s a compacted and slightly garbled sentence that needed editing for clarification. But I’d guess the following may be meant.

      There exists a large — perhaps even predominant — segment of the West’s elites who accept climate change and the reality that the present fossil-fueled infrastructure must be changed. These elites’ objective is to carry out that transformation in such a way that they retain or improve their present positions of dominance within that future global order.

      Forex: –

      No single figure has been more responsible for systematically promoting climate change denial than Charles Koch — a highly intelligent man with MIT masters’ degrees in both nuclear and chemical engineering, not incidentally. Koch Industries now has a venture capital investing arm, however, called Koch Disruptive Technologies run by Charles’s son, Chase Koch.

      The nature of the VC business is that a given startup will frequently be funded by multiple VC companies going in together. I’ve heard from folks who are VCs that have invested in startups alongside Koch Disruptive Technologies — sometimes startups doing energy and climate solutions — that the view at Koch Disruptive Technologies is the current energy order has about fifteen more years left, and — by extension — Koch Industries will have to moved on from its current role on processing and distributing fossil fuels by then.

      tl; dr

      The simple version: the financial elites behind Klaus Schwab’s WEF aim to carry out a Fourth Industrial Revolution. On its other side, you may or may not own nothing and be happy. But they will at least maintain — and ideally will have improved — their dominance.

      1. Mikel

        In short, the oligarchy led by the USA wants to use scarcity, real and in some cases manufactured, for its advantage.

        1. scraping_by

          Another name for manufactured scarcity is ‘fashion’. Obama’s War on Coal was partly regulatory but mainly sneering the words ‘dirty coal’. In other words, uncool! And coal fired electricity generation began dying.

          The doomsday cult of Global Warming is almost entirely supported by marketing ploys like that. Since all advertising is aspirational, you get the population, at least the chattering classes, to aspire to a posture of scientific literacy and global concern. It’s the fashion, after all.

          Biden’s Transition reminds me of Mao’s Great Leap Forward. Messing with a working economy for the sake of a theory. We’re likely to settle for austerity rather than famine. One hopes.

      2. GramSci

        Thank you, Michaelmas. Unfortunately, I’m afraid that such “slightly garbled sentences” are too common in Dr. Hudson’s posts. (The major books are much better.) As a member of the choir, I can forgive such lapses, but they often prevent me from forwarding a post to people who should be brought into the fold.

        I think a more egregious example from the present post was the sentence, “In practice, U.S. rhetoric means promoting its own economic growth and living standards, keeping finance and banking as public utilities.”

        I beg the good Doctor’s pardon if I am being obtuse, but in my only reading, already in paragraph three, this unproofread sentence gives many people who should be paying attention (I’m thinking Greens and DSA-types) cause to stop reading and dismiss Hudson as a sloppy thinker. I have had this happen. Accordingly, I regret that I am reluctant to forward this post outside the choir that already reads NC.

        1. Michael Hudson

          Oh, dear. Some of my copy and paste went wrong. thanks for noticing this. It SHOULD have read:
          In practice, U.S. rhetoric accuses China of being autocratic in regulating its economy to promote its own economic growth and living standards, above all by keeping finance and banking as public utilities to promote the tangible production-and-consumption economy.

          1. JBird4049

            So, the New Deal was a bad thing; wasn’t created to prevent the collapse of capitalism as well as, more specifically, an American civil war? Just what do the elites plan to do this time to prevent the on coming collapse? What does that make the many who would love to resurrect it, never mind actual socialists?

      3. Tom Pfotzer

        Great answer, Michaelmas.

        Yet another reason why the little people have simply _got_ to get good at innovation, and get control of the tools necessary to implement the innovations such that _we_ are the ones that benefit from the technical advances.

        Remember: a lot of the things you need to run your household you can build, buy (own) and operate. You make the investment, you own all the benefits. _no meter_.

        The oligarch game: get control of key assets, and put a meter on it. Amass the wealth, repeat.

        The rest of us’s game: build our own assets, and run them for our own benefit. And, if there’s any extra production, sell it to the oligarchs at 5x the price we sell it for among ourselves.

      4. Carla

        @Michaelmas “A keystone of U.S. economic diplomacy is for its oil companies and those of its NATO allies to control the world’s oil and gas supply – that is, to reduce dependence on carbon-based fuels.”

        @GramSci “In practice, U.S. rhetoric means promoting its own economic growth and living standards, keeping finance and banking as public utilities.”

        Thank you both so much for calling out those two sentences. I puzzled over them, reading each several times before just giving up and plowing forward, as I constantly find myself doing when I try to grasp Michael Hudson’s posts.

        Everyone needs an editor, and too few people publishing in the blogosphere have one.

        I am glad to see that Prof. Hudson provided a translation of the “finance and banking as public utilities” sentence, and hope he will also provide one for the incomprehensible claim about oil companies.

        For those of us who read Naked Capitalism to learn, as I do every day, the persistence of such unclear statements calls into question every other claim in a post, causing a lot of mental wheel-spinning. And as several others have commented in this thread, such errors also make me hesitant to share some NC posts with others.

    2. Don

      I didn’t understand that either — it reads like it contains an auto-correct or a typo. I second GramSci’s request.

    3. Janie

      GramSci, I paused at that sentence, too. I mentally rewrote the end as “control the supply – in order to reduce dependence”. I may be all wet, though.

    4. Keith Howard

      I think perhaps the clause following the dash is misplaced. It makes better sense appended to the first sentence of that paragraph, so as to read:

      “Another byproduct of America’s New Cold War has been to end any international plan to stem global warming — that is, to reduce depedence on carbon-based fuels. A keystone of U.S. economic diplomacy is for its oil companies and those of its NATO allies to control … ” etc.

      1. Michael Hudson

        Well, I thought it meant trend any plan to reduce dependence on carbon-based fuels. Perhaps a comma would indeed have been better. Or better yet:
        Another byproduct of America’s New Cold War has been to end any international plan to stem global warming. A keystone of U.S. economic diplomacy is for its oil companies and those of its NATO allies to control the world’s oil and gas supply – that is, to oppose attempts reduce dependence on carbon-based fuels. The NATO war in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan and Ukraine was about the United States (and its French, British and Dutch allies) keeping control of oil..

        1. Michaelmas

          Michael Hudson: A keystone of U.S. economic diplomacy is for its oil companies and those of its NATO allies to control the world’s oil and gas supply – that is, to oppose attempts reduce dependence on carbon-based fuels.

          In the short term, that may be. Granted, too, short-term is how many currently at the top in the US think.

          Nevertheless, there exist factions even within US and NATO allies’ oil and energy companies — and certainly more generally among ‘Western’ financial elites — who are very much preparing for an energy transition but on their terms.

          1. GramSci

            Indeed, Michaelmas, at that sentence my imagination was running to something like “USian elites capitalizing upon the naïveté of German Greens in order to enlist their support in the dismantling of German industry.”

  10. Alice X

    Drawing historical parallels can be fun, drawing direct straight lines can be more problematic. One straight line that can be drawn throughout history, directly, is from Thucydides: the strong do what they will, the weak suffer as they must.

  11. Michael Hudson

    Well, see today’s FT article, Guy Chazan and Yuan Yang, “Germany’s dilemma over China,” Financial Times, November 2, 2022.
    Thomas Haldenwang, head of German domestic intelligence, summed up the concern at a hearing in the Bundestag last month. China, he said, presented a much greater threat to German security in the long term than Russia. “Russia is the storm,” he said. “China is climate change.”
    Germany’s president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a former foreign minister, said Germany must “learn its lesson” from Russia’s war on Ukraine. “And the lesson is that we have to reduce our lopsided dependencies, wherever we can,” he told public broadcaster ARD last week. “That applies in particular to China.”
    Me: This means, Replace this with German dependency on the US.
    “It will designate China as an important trading partner but the Communist party as a systemic rival,” finance minister Christian Lindner says in an interview.
    The rethink is being driven by the Greens, who have long been mistrustful of China. Since entering the government in December 2021 they’ve wasted little time putting their China-sceptical stamp on policy. Germany’s experience with Russia had shown “that we can no longer allow ourselves to become existentially dependent on any country that doesn’t share our values,” the Green foreign minister Annalena Baerbock told Süddeutsche Zeitung last month. “Complete economic dependence based on the principle of hope leaves us open to political blackmail.”
    According to the German Economic Institute, German businesses invested a record €10bn in China in the first half of this year alone. The title of the institute’s study: “full steam ahead in the wrong direction”.

    1. pjay

      Thank you Michael for your many contributions to understanding and, one hopes, sanity.

      I have asked this question before, but I’d like to get your opinion. To many of us, and as your presentation indicates here, the German leadership is fostering economic suicide in the interests of US-centered global capital, with “neoliberalism” serving as its ideological rallying cry – its religious cause. Extending the religious analogy, in the US I tend to distinguish people like Dick Cheney who, in my view, believes only in power and spouts any justifying bulls**t cynically, from ideological “true believers” like, say, a Fiona Hill. So how does this apply to the German leadership (or that of the rest of NATOized Europe for that matter)? Are they really true believers in neoliberal globalism and therefore blind to their own economic interests? Have they been brainwashed by their elite Western education and connections? Have they simply been bribed or blackmailed into selling-out their own citizens? Has the US/NATO intelligence community been able to gradually replace semi-realists like Merkel with mindless automatons? I’m genuinely puzzled at the striking state of European “leadership” today.

      Of course the political class in the US is worthless as well, but at least one can understand how US-based economic interests benefit from their actions.

    2. fjallstrom

      Regarding German intelligence.

      In the spring of 2021 Danish intelligence had a leak, showing that Danish intelligence spied on neighbouring EU states top politicians, and shared the data with the NSA. This was quickly spun out of the news cycle, even the very top politicians in neighbouring countries that had been spied on didn’t appear to want to make a fuss.

      Unless one assumes that something is rotten only in the state of Denmark, it would seem likely that other EU intelligence agencies behave in a similar fashion, which would mean that NSA has very detailed profiles on all top politicians in the EU. If one assumes that the NSA does its job in informing foreign policy, and foreign policy officials in turn does their job in using intelligence to further the interests of the USA, it would seem like EU countries pay staff for the surveilliance of EU politicians, mostly for the benefit of the USA.

      So one might figure that Thomas Haldenwang, head of German domestic intelligence, has indeed been informed of who the next enemy is.

      1. Norm de plume

        it would seem likely that other EU intelligence agencies behave in a similar fashion, which would mean that NSA has very detailed profiles on all top politicians in the EU

        The extent to which privacy has become a relic of a bygone age, even at the highest levels – has been known for a while now, but it is good to have it spelled out so clearly by an insider who is now an outsider; a biter who got bit:


        The seemingly insane behaviour of many national leaders – when corruption, physical threat and sheer idiocy can no explain it – becomes clearer when you are aware that everything they have said and done since the turn of the millennium is available to entities and persons with pockets deep enough to pay for, or threats credible enough to obtain the expertise required to access information that provides them with the opportunity for control.

        You might think that only absolute cleanskin politicians and office holders could avoid this threat, but how many of those ascend to the top of our greasy poles nowadays? It is likely in fact that those who direct operations such as these (and the people who ultimately direct them) deem cleanskins a threat, and for that reason aspirants to power nowadays may discover that the game-changing skeletons in their closets are assets rather than the liabilities they were when we were young. The more compromised the better.

        This scenario has a lot of explanatory power. And perhaps we see the tip of such icebergs in episodes like the Epstein saga.


        But of course, even if a cleanskin broke through, as Corbyn and Sanders almost did before their own parties kneecapped them, other options remain.

        First, evidence – even apparently irrefutable evidence (documents, online activity, even photographic or video material) – can be adjusted or even created out of whole cloth. The US and UK alphabet agencies in particular have a long and sordid history of this.

        And there is always the last resort… Epstein being only the most prominent example of the rather useful ‘suicides’ and ‘accidents’ that have removed existential threats in the nick of time.

        Anyone too prominent to summarily off in this way can instead look forward to the Assange treatment. Dotcom had better watch his step…

        This fellow’s fate is possibly another fleeting glimpse of iceberg:


  12. Robin Kash

    Germany could turn matters on their head by forging alliances with Russia and China. Doing so makes economic sense. Will German oligarchs (barons?) rebel and could they bring them enough of the German people to make the break stick? Such an attempt would likely be met with a US-sponsored coup similar to that in Ukraine in 2014. The US has an occupation force in Germany to assure the success of such coup.

  13. juno mas

    Thank you, Michael Hudson.

    I’m amazed at the the historical breadth you bring to the political economy of current events. Who would have thought that “greed is good” has such
    extended utility to Popes and Rulers (but not the Proles).

  14. chuck roast

    Back when I was at uni the term “economic determinism” was seen as a slag. Right there with “vulgar Marxism”. Your vastly sweeping economic determinism is indeed a heady brew. Thanks for this. Yep…it is (and always was) all about the Benjamins.

  15. Kouros

    I will wait to see what the outcome of German Chancellor visit to China will be. Here I read that Olaf is going to China with threats and demands, while on RT the visit is presented as as snub to the US and declaration of independence. Maybe is one, maybe is the other, maybe is both…

  16. Stephen

    This is a fantastic discourse.

    The US foreign policy establishment is indeed orchestrating a moral crusade as a way to retain power. If one views events through this lens then most of what is happening can be explained.

    Understanding that and disseminating it feels a crucial part of stopping it. It needs to be stopped in the interest of all humanity.

    President Putin’s Valdai Speech seemed to be a clear rejection of this philosophy too. He clearly knows what he is opposing.

    I am British (albeit I studied for two years in the US) and was always a believer in the so called “special relationship”. Like most people I spent very little time questioning it, although I always thought that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were wrong. Am no longer a supporter of the UK’s puppet status to the US though. The relationship is deeply unhealthy for both parties. The current idea of never ending conflict is just evil.

    Unfortunately, I do not see our Martin Luther appearing quickly. Too many powerful people are indoctrinated and also have strong career and monetary incentives to preserve the status quo.

    Fully agree that new international bodies are a crucial part of the answer.

    What else can we do practically?

    1. Norm de plume

      Unfortunately, I do not see our Martin Luther appearing quickly. Too many powerful people are indoctrinated and also have strong career and monetary incentives to preserve the status quo.

      Fully agree that new international bodies are a crucial part of the answer.

      What else can we do practically?

      I ask myself variations of that question several times daily, and come up with nada, generally. I can’t even begin to shoulder the burden of trying to explain and convince my small circle of family and friends of basic facts let alone analyses that the commentariat here knows by now in its very bones.

      The job is too big and I am too small. Not saying I am anywhere near ‘the best’ but in terms of taking action, I ‘lack all conviction’. On the few occasions my internal ire has managed to escape, I appear to my interlocutors to be ‘full of passionate intensity’ and therefore one of ‘the worst’. Many of them I’m sure can feel the widening gyre, but cannot process the prospect of the centre not holding.

      It is not that we have no MLKs, it’s that any who emerge are downranked, deplatformed, ridiculed or otherwise defenestrated, if they can’t be ignored. Ye may be no MLK but his recent experience and future prospects are instructive in this regard.

      This reality is bred into the bones of virtually all of the cultural icons who could plausibly be expected to garner a critical mass of support for a non-establishment position on any of the Empire’s imperatives. Hence we see rather sickening displays of Russophobia and Ukrophilia among our musical and movie royalty, much of which admittedly stems from the sheer ignorance deliberately cultivated by the media they swim in.

      Only Roger Waters comes to mind immediately as a high wattage star who (re the war) warns of the dangers, exposes the hypocrisies and stands four square opposed to the lies. I admired Eric Clapton and Van Morrison’s vocal opposition to vax mandates but they operated from a personal health autonomy perspective rather than the wider principles involved in Waters’ stance.

      Disappointing to see for example Peter Gabriel on the Ze train, and even the uber-prog Peter Garrett of Midnight Oil dutifully flying the blue and yellow on stage. This from the bloke who sang ‘US Forces’ FFS. You could be charitable and assume ignorance rather than approval of imperial designs, but the result is dangerous either way at a time of potentially nuclear escalation.

  17. zagonostra

    the world is splitting in two camps: the U.S.-centered NATO, and the emerging Eurasian coalition.

    And internally, the U.S. is splitting into two camps: one that plugs into and feeds from MSM outlets and the other that seeks alternative views online. Fighting against the framing of the New Cold War’s “good vs. evil” narrative is the fight for freeing Assange and the every widening intrusion of the Security State into censoring/controlling social media.

    Also the medieval Catholic Church could invoke its unique institutional role as interpreter of the bible and revelation. The U.S.’s invoking its role as the “indispensable” nation has no purchase left. It can no longer claim that its motives are moral.

    1. Tom Pfotzer

      Messaging: Right concept, expressed via the right words / pictures, delivered to the right person, at the right time.

      “Advertising” is messaging.

      How good at messaging are we right now?

      We have a few great outlets, like NC. We have a few great writers, like M. Hudson, Y. Smith, and several others, but they are a relative few.

      We have few well-packaged media- or educational-kits which are boxed-up, ready to go, that carry the messaging freight for us.

      There’s much we could be doing, and it’s not like we’re not capable of this. I hope this subject of bottom-up messaging gets the attention of the NC staff. There may well be some examples out there that we could learn from.

      1. Rolf

        There’s much we could be doing, and it’s not like we’re not capable of this. I hope this subject of bottom-up messaging gets the attention of the NC staff. There may well be some examples out there that we could learn from.

        Seconding this, thank you, Tom.

  18. Richard H Caldwell

    As always, insightful and thoroughly informed by history and close study. Thank you, Dr. Hudson!

  19. Alex Morfesis

    The son of princess Malek…it would not be a horrific thingee if we didn’t make the coupee in 1953 Iran into some form of saint who had been elected by the majority of the Iranian people…he was more royal than Reza and had crushed protests by the left wing factions in Persia who originally denounced the son of princess Malek as an instrument of western imperialism…rehashing french narratives to fight off American attempts to enforce the understandings of the original north Atlantic treaty is sad…we could do and should have done better along the way but 1953 Iran was not some bastion of democracy crushed by lang lee and the not ready for prime time couperz

    1. Stephen

      I do not know the details of Iran. But my personal view is that foreign states should not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. Period.

      Or at least there should be a very high bar for doing so. “Defending democracy” in the way that the U.S. does is just a power play. Saudi Arabia is not a democracy either but has had long term western support. The whole thing is sheer hypocrisy.

      It is not for us to judge other states. Doing so is updated imperialism. Different countries need to be able to develop organically. The test of “first do no harm” seems not to be followed. Unforeseen consequences are not thought about either.

  20. David in Santa Cruz

    Eureka! I have been beating my brains out trying to reconcile how Taibbi’s Vampire Squid is “democracy” but Xi Jinping’s Common Prosperity policy is “authoritarian” — but Americans raised on television are susceptible to false branding. To Our Billionaire Overlords “democracy” means:

    …the neoliberal bank-centered view that economies should be privatized with central planning by financial centers.

    I only had to read the DNC response in Wilding v. DNC Services Corp to understand that self-selected elites are the only persons with a true franchise. The sole difference between American “democracy” and an aristocracy such as the medieval Roman church is that the American elite has chosen to divide into two factions — Harvard/Yale (“Democrats”) vs. Stanford/Chicago (“Republicans”), with Princeton somewhere in the middle and Dartmouth supplying the muscle.

    Simply read the Wikipedia bio of the bizarre figure Antony Blinken to understand how this works in action. Blinken’s grandfather was an immigrant from Kiev and supporter of Zionism; his father was a co-founder of Warburg Pincus (current President “Turbo Timmy” Geithner); his step-father was a Polish Holocaust survivor; he went to lycée in Paris and his Harvard undergraduate thesis was about the 1980’s Siberian gas pipeline (published as a book and reviewed on ScAmazon by the CEO of PepsiCo); by law school he was advising the Dukakis campaign thanks to daddy’s donations. Blinken has never had to work in the real world — he is defined by Russophobia, Germanophobia, and Islamophobia — but he is a member of the elite caste and gets to make policy even if it harms — and kills — millions.

    “Democracy” was re-defined by neoliberalism as rule by an aristocracy of finance. It is only “democratic” in that anyone who gets into an Ivy, regardless of race or creed, has a chance at becoming a member of the immune elite.

    Thank you Professor Hudson for giving me this brief moment of clarity!

  21. David

    I’m always surprised by the tendency of Americans of all political persuasions to talk as though other countries don’t have agency, and aren’t capable of conducting their own policies in what they see as their own interests.
    The dynamics of the European response to the Ukraine are complex but not impossible to understand, and they have relatively little to do with the United States. There are historical, cultural and political factors going back centuries in the relationship with Russia, which make the current hysteria in European capitals comprehensible. Briefly, for the first time in history Europe sees itself united, with historic divisions (The Pope vs; the Holy Roman Empire, the King of France vs. the Empire, Catholics vs. Protestants, France vs Germany) finally healed, in the supranational European Union, which is far more important than any other organisation for understanding European behaviour at the moment. The present arrangements in Brussels (Commission and Council of Ministers) have managed, after a fashion, to overcome this historic division and the construction of Europe could now go ahead if it were not for that villain Putin spoiling everything. Europeans don’t need American encouragement to hate Putin and Russia: if anything, the hysteria among the PMC over here is greater and more intense than in the US, because what’s at stake here is the entire European PMC vision of itself and its continent. This is an existential struggle.
    I’ve set the background to this out in more detail here for those who may be interested:

    1. IsabelPS

      “I’m always surprised by the tendency of Americans of all political persuasions to talk as though other countries don’t have agency, and aren’t capable of conducting their own policies in what they see as their own interests.”

      Thank you for occasionally bringing some sanity to this blog, David. Sitting here at the western edge of Europe, I marvel at the nombrilisme, as the French call it, that, at the same time, calls for the fall of the “hegemon” and totally dismisses anybody but the “hegemon”. An amazing thing to watch.

      1. pjay

        So German leaders (among others in Europe) are committing economic suicide on their own, without US help. Ok, let’s give their “agency” its due. I asked above earlier (no response yet) why European leaders would act this irrationally. It is quite difficult to argue that current policies benefit most Europeans. David’s explanation seems to be “historical, cultural, and political factors going back centuries.” So, I’ll ask again; where are the “realists” Are these leaders really that blinded by history or culture? They didn’t used to be.

        I understand the EU’s function in “uniting” Europe – short-circuiting national political resistance to transnational neoliberal policy. And I understand why EU officials and their apologists would kowtow to US – pardon me, “EU” interests. But when David says “for the first time in history Europe sees itself united,” I assume he is not referring to the vast majority of Europeans. I may be an ignorant American, but even I can see the problems with this position.

        And at the risk of denying European “agency,” what’s going on with Ukraine and all of the related geopolitical elements is a NATO issue. NATO is above all a US tool. The fact that there are Europeans involved in it does not diminish its “hegemonic” position. To deny the dominant US role in the massive chaos that has been unleashed is itself obscurantist. Believe me I take no ethnocentric pride in such a statement.

        1. bwilli123

          I suspect that having Deutsche Bank collapsed if you didn’t cooperate would provide sufficient incentive to toe the line.
          And this would apply to any of the large Euro banks post 2008 wouldn’t it?

    2. Starry Gordon

      It’s been awhile since I read it, but the present conflict in Ukraine and several related matters remind me of Hardt and Negri’s _Empire_. What was supposed to happen after the collapse of Communism was not just a united Europe but a united world under a kind of monarchical capitalism which would gradually suck in and digest any states or parties which lay outside it. Around the time of its publication, the remains of the Soviet Union were being assimilated, and China’s movement towards capitalism with Chinese characteristics was also apparent. The United States was supposed to provide the muscle when muscle was necessary, but not as a nationalist liberal golem but post-nationalist transfigured Last Man Standing. The world would be ruled, not by an emperor but a board of directors. Things went wrong with this plan right away but I don’t think its believers have been deflected or deposed. There is to be a unipolar world but like some medieval geometrical monstrosity it is to be a sphere whose center is everywhere and whose surface is nowhere (because it has no outside).

      “And what is the alternative?” our globalists might complain. “We had a multipolar world in 1914.”

    3. Greg

      I read this article just after reading David’s latest, and I don’t see the conflict that David raises here. To my mind, the two theories are complementary – of course the countries or at least the leaders of the EU have agency, but also of course the US has interests and heavy influence with the countries, but especially the leaders of the EU.
      The PMC caste is encultured into US ideologies via exchanges and training institutions, so they will perform according to US wishes whether they explicitly choose to or not. This is roughly analogous to the way that MBAs enculture future middle management into neoliberal values.
      At the same time, while the US has clear ideas about what they want from Europe, they can’t simply dictate and must instead bring the PMC caste in Europe onboard with their ideologies to enact the attack on German primacy in Europe that Dr Hudson outlines.

      What am I missing? How are the two theories in conflict? I’ve almost certainly taken a simplistic read of both since I’m in no way an expert.

      1. Norm de plume

        Agree entirely. The Europeans’ home grown Russophobia may be a necessary component but it is not sufficient as a rationale or explanation. Likewise the American influence. It is an ugly and mutually supportive pas de deux, but I do feel one partner takes the leading hand in the direction the dance is taking.

      2. Stephen

        I agree.

        Ideology and self interest tend to be complementary. At the individual level. PMC members adopt the ideology of the group. Otherwise, your career ends quickly.

        In some ways, the Europeans even egg on the US. UK behaviour in this mess has hardly served as a restraint.

        Endemic Russophobia is a factor too, I suspect. As David points out. It was a latent force that has now been ignited. There are many such phobias though. What has been done is not moral.

        I read both essays and each was helpful I felt.

    4. Kouros

      Europe is a very diverse place. It might be understandable the Balts and the Poles hate for Russia, due to their atavistic sense of superiority coupled with the despair at the idea that Russian boot was over their neck for a time, part of which was under the “godless” ideology of communism (pthu, pthu, pthu).

      I think both the Finns and the Swedes are jumping the gun here, especially the Swedes (are they still but hurt for some lost battle in 1700s?).

      The Czechs are outrageous. Compare them with Hungarians, with both countries having suffered communism and Russian intervention. Romania is really nowhere to be heard despite of loss of territory, loss of Monarchy and as far as I can tell, if they dislike Russians, they dislike Ukrainians more.

      Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, what reason would they have to be Russophobic? Or Switzerland? Or France, Austria (which was saved several times in history by the Russian armies), Spain, Portugal, Netherlands?

      UK is pathological and they have no longer an empire to defend. I find Norway rather low key in all this.

      So no, I do not understand what is comprehensible in this overwhelming common reaction, except that media everywhere is coordinated from one center.

      A former Australian PM has stated in an relative recent interview with the Australian press (more outlets present) that Australia is run by spooks, by the security services. And the same goes for the rest. And they all do the bidding of the expanding agenda of the finance capitalism. It is almost like a worldwide experiment. But I buy the argument concerning the coordination from Brussels and the hysteria of the PMC there.

      Because there is no historical evidence pointing at the fact that absolutely everyone has grievances against Russia.

      1. Stephen

        Battle of Poltava. Seen as the end point of the Swedish Empire. Peter The Great’s victory. Frankly, I cannot too many modern Swedes thinking about that!

        Fascinatingly, Poltava is in modern day Ukraine.

      2. cosmiccretin

        Wrt Finland, despite having lived there for over twenty years I was taken completely aback by the concerted pell-mell rush of – so far as I could tell almost the entire populace – into the embrace of NATO (which is to say, the USA). The entire country was as one spooked virtually overnight into rushing like lemmings towards the precipice:- namely peremptory abandonment of five decades of a policy of non-alignment and its substitution by membership of the aggressive military alliance NATO, directed from Washington against its declared enemy Russia (with China close behind). A total reversal, fraught with danger and uncertainty for the future. When it came to a vote in parliament, on whether to approve the steps taken towards joining NATO by the president and government, approval was nearly unanimous. Opinion-polls confirmed that that vote was representative of public opinion.

        I couldn’t account for it then and I still can’t. It was exactly like those TV programmes in which shepherds and their dogs working together faultlessly herd a flock of sheep into a distant pen with occasional whistles as their only means of communication. I do recall that just at that particular time there had been a wave of (understandable) revulsion in Finland at the news of the massacre in Bucha which no one questioned for a moment must have been perpetrated by the “brutal” Russians (it was simply inconceivable that it could have been a false-flag scenario staged by elements of those supposedly saintly victims of “unprovoked” Russian aggression, the blameless Kiev regime, even though their army had been busy shelling the defenseless residents of Donetsk and its environs ever since 2014 at the cost of an estimated 14000 lives: nothing about that had appeared in the Finnish media of course).

        I suspect that that event acted like a switch in the collective Finnish consciousness, instantaneously reawakening a conditioned reflex of visceral russophobia implanted by centuries of warfare. That’s the only explanation I can suggest for the Finns’ precipitately throwing away the country’s best assurance of NOT being attacked by Russia and instead almost guaranteeing that – sooner or later – it will be turned by the USA into the same kind of existential threat to Russia that the USA tried to turn Ukraine into – probably with not dissimilar consequences.

        A tragedy.

        1. Kouros

          I don’t think it was centuries of warfare. Finland was a duchy in possession of one kingdom and then in fights between that kingdom and Russian empire, they lost the Finish lands.

          And under the Czars, Finland had the highest level of autonomy among all the other Czarist territories, including Russia.

          What was pathetic to see in Finland was the defenestration of politicians that continued to argue for Finish neutrality and normal relations with Russia.

          The ledger of complains for the Fins is short. Some mild occupation for maybe about 100 years, a war lost, some sparse territory lost, imposition of neutrality, and having to allow the legality of the Finnish Communist Party in Finland.

          I can say the Fins have lost all common sense. I visited Romania in May and the opinions there were quite split in the population, despite incessant media propaganda. The thing is that Romanians, after decades of communist propaganda, are suspicious and incredulous of politicians and media pronouncements. Plus there is Hungary without and within.

          And in the debates I had with my former uni colleagues, “the Altaicists” were loosing hands down

    5. Eclair

      ” … other countries don’t have agency, and aren’t capable of conducting their own policies in what they see as their own interests.”

      Um, could the fact that the USA has armed men/women, fighter jets, bombers, aircraft carriers, bombs, nuclear and non-nuclear, (thus providing gobs of cash to locals) in many European ‘sovereign’ nations, give the US some weight in any argument? Germany, Greece, Italy, Bulgaria, UK, The Netherlands, Spain, Romania, Portugal, Estonia, Bosnia, Belgium, all ‘host’ Army, Air Force, Navy or Coast Guard bases. And Turkey.

      I realize that the US is providing essential ‘protection’ against Russia. And iff the ‘threat’ did not exist, then there would be no need for ‘protection.’

      1. David

        No, this is the realist political trap into which most Americans fall, as does this article. In reality, the US has very small forces in Europe (quite a lot of troops but few formed units) and in any event US forces in Europe have not been politically popular, and have been a source of endless political trouble for European governments. Whatever may have been the case during the Cold War (and even that is debatable) few nations in Europe, and few governments, believe that they are “protected” by the US. On the other hand governments all over the world have generations of experience now in manipulating the Americans to get what they want, whilst often paying lip-service to things like NATO communiqués. The problem is really an intellectual one: US ideas about crude economic and military power forcing others to do what they want, are superficial and reductive, and real politics is not like that. To be fair, individual USian officials I’ve met often seem to realise this, but they work for a system that doesn’t understand anything more sophisticated than threats and violence.

        1. pjay

          So Europe *is* committing voluntary economic suicide? Germany is actually *happy* about the destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines? Europeans are actually fine with the US proxy war in Ukraine because they actually fear Russia enough to sacrifice their own economic well-being? Gee, maybe they even “manipulated” the Americans into it.

          If only the US was as weak and hapless as you seem to think it is.

          I don’t doubt that a cultural undercurrent of “Russiaphobia” exists (I did read your essay – some interesting and relevant points, but a missing dimension as well). Racial and ethnic antagonisms are present most places. They are very useful to elites who want to divide potential opposition or mobilize a population against an external enemy. But at the risk of falling into a “realist trap,” may I ask one more time, what happened to the realist leaders in Europe who up to a few years ago were quite willing to deal with Russia in a “rational” manner? No one seems willing to answer this question, except perhaps Norm de Plume, who provides a blackmail explanation. Makes as much sense as any for this insane turn of events.

          You seem to have a viewpoint shaped by professional experience. I welcome such insights. But I just can’t believe current events reflect an indigenous eruption of ancient cultural antagonisms. I *can* believe that privileged members of a PMC might hold neoliberal dogma much like religious belief (I’ve seen it often here in the US). But always, *always*, this strata is serving as a tool of those with real power. I’m not convinced that this isn’t the case in Europe as well. But who is it?

  22. Henry Moon Pie

    Dr. Hudson has presented us with a cogent analogy for our current situation. I might quibble with the choice of the cause of the Papacy’s decline in power and influence. All those Ottoman Muslim forces bearing down on Vienna should have really been a unifying force, but it was Tetzel’s Pretzels, otherwise known as indulgences, that set off the Reformation that began to restrict Rome’s geographic reach.

    The New Rome demands indulgences as well in the form of arms purchases, sanctions obedience, all the various rent mechanisms like IP and the rest. The rest of the world is tired of paying for nothing but protection from a military whose effectiveness is more and more subject to question.

  23. Tom Pfotzer

    David, you said:

    … what’s at stake here is the entire European PMC vision of itself and its continent. This is an existential struggle.”

    As I recall, there was and still is great interest within EU to continue and expand trade ties with Asia, and there certainly was great interest in developing trade ties with Russia, until the West put the kibosh on it.

    The PMC, if it has any current role at all in all this, is to operate as wind-sock. The PMC won’t last a day longer than the underlying economy.

    The PMC may not acknowledge that; of course we’re all entitled to our delusions.

    So this Russia hatred…I don’t recall hearing about it all until the West told Germany “no pipeline to Russia”. Up to that point, my take was “PMC on-board with EurAsian integration”. Much money to be made.

    Then the PMC wind-sock did a 180.

    So, if this anti-Russia enmity truly is “existential”…it’s existential for the current PMC wind-sock viewpoint, and not much else.

    The German real economy knows what’s existential, and that message will get communicated very clearly in the months to come.

    I ask, since you are in the EU, and I’m not…what evidence of this Russia hatred did you see prior to the U.S.’ escalating the political pressure (to block out Russia) into economic (sanctions) and then military (pipeline bombing) confrontation? Let’s run the clock back to (about) 2018, when Trump said “Germany has to spend more on defense”. That’s the point of rhetoric spin-up, by my lights.

    What was the level of Russia hatred then?


    Lastly, there seems to be a great effort to cast the recent Empire .vs. Multipolar World split as an extension of religious strife from centuries past. I see that as a very long stretch.

    I think the story is much simpler: An Empire is dying, and the empire’s key players are desperately trying to keep the borderland fiefdoms from defecting into the emergent socio-political order.

    That is a simple explanation that is consistent with nearly all the phenomena we’re seeing.

    The Empire is great at bribery, threats, and other gang-land technique. It’s also good at propaganda. And those are the behaviors we’re seeing.

    Going to be some rough times ahead for the EU PMC. Wind-socks with no wind.

    1. David

      Well, that’s what my latest essay is about. But simply, Ukraine has been a major priority for the EU, in my personal experience, for a good 15 years now. The EU has never really had a sensible and coherent policy towards Russia in that time, and has been at least as hostile to Russia since 2014 as anyone else. There’s no doubt that Russia has been “the enemy” in a strategic sense for a long time, not simply, and even not mostly, for crudely geostrategic reasons, but because Russia is seen once more as the anti-Europe, hostile to ideas of modernity and liberal rationality, the traditional barbarians from the East about which Europe has worried for centuries. The real error made by the EU was the assumption that they could treat Russia like Myanmar, with sanctions and moral lectures, and that there would be no consequences.

      1. Tom Pfotzer


        EU, esp. Germany has _not_ seen Russia as a geopolitical enemy since 2014. The E.U. saw Russia as a supplier and a market, and the trade flows reflect that fact. Do I need to cite the numbers?

        That was why, in 2014, Nuland said “f*ck the E.U.”. Why? Because Germany and the broader E.U. did _not_ see Russia as the enemy. Didn’t see it, didn’t act like it. Hence Nuland’s outburst.

        The E.U. wanted trade with Russia. UK, esp. “the City” wanted that Russian loot funneled through London.

        It took another 8 years of constant NeoCon pressure to force Germany to capitulate to U.S. (NeoCon) demands to renounce Russia trade (not just energy, but all else, too), and even then, the U.S. had to destroy the pipelines in order to insure that they weren’t used.

        I read your article, all 3700 words. I looked for, and didn’t seem to find the thesis paragraph and the bullets of supporting logic for the thesis.

        Please help me find it.

        1. Basil Pesto

          There can be no wider, historically and culturally informed sense of enmity between two entities because they trade with each other? The unhinged Russophobia out of the Baltic states (EU members) alone is something to behold, and I don’t think anyone would argue that it’s recent.

      2. Tokyognome

        “The EU has never really had a sensible and coherent policy towards Russia in that time, and has been at least as hostile to Russia since 2014 as anyone else.”

        This assessment strikes me as ill-informed.

        My impression has been that EU countries pre-Ukraine followed policies similar to Germanys Wandel durch Handel (English: “change through trade”), which has been sensible, coherent, and above all, successful. Germany’s Merkel administration took a step back after the Crimea annexation, but without abandoning this policy and openly reluctant to underwrite more than the initial set of economic sanctions against Russia sought by the US/UK administrations.

        From Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wandel_durch_Handel)

        “Wandel durch Handel (English: “change through trade”), also known as Wandel durch Annäherung, is a term referring to a political and economic notion, mostly associated with German foreign policy, of increasing trade with authoritarian regimes in an effort to induce political change.[1][2][3][4] Although most strongly associated with Germany, similar policies have been pursued by several Western countries.[5]”

        The current German government’s about-face, in my view, is a direct result of the “value-oriented foreign policy approach” enshrined at the insistence of the Greens in the coalition agreement concluded November 24, 2021, which has since been implemented by the minister of foreign affairs Ms. Baerbock.

    2. fairleft

      Your explanation is best. People need to distinguish the base from the superstructure. The almost-all-powerful base — essentially the Western finance and arms industry lobbies — are resisting the rise of the next era because they believe they will badly lose out. That explains what’s going on, no need for historical analogues or a history of Euro elites’ Russia feels.

      The PMC who do the base’s bidding don’t want to see themselves as craven slaves, so they become evangelists of utopianized neoliberal economics, because this most closely fits their masters’ world view. But, in those moments when the base’s needs don’t fit the utopian neoliberal ideology, true believer PMCs would be rolled over if there were any.

  24. Alex Cox

    This is an excellent and thought-provoking piece.
    It’s most impressive that the author responds to the commentariat and graciously admits and corrects errors! Hats off to NC for making this possible.

  25. Insousiant Iowan

    Michael Hudson said some months ago that Germany was the real target of the proxy war in Ukraine. Events have confirmed that forecast. In this speech he delves into the history of Europe and the papacy for an analogy to present events. It seems apt.
    Germany could turn matters on their head by forging economic alliances with Russia and China. Doing so makes economic sense. Why be deprived of affordable Russia gas, petrol, and other resources critical to the German economy? Why should Germany invest billions in a specialized seaport in order to pay four times the price for US LNG?
    Will German oligarchs (barons) refuse to go gently into that dark night? Could they bring with them enough popular support to elect (or endure) a government that would undertake such a realignment? Such an attempt would likely be met with a US-sponsored coup similar to that in Ukraine in 2014. The US has an occupation force in Germany to assure the success of such coup.

  26. Rolf

    There’s much we could be doing, and it’s not like we’re not capable of this. I hope this subject of bottom-up messaging gets the attention of the NC staff. There may well be some examples out there that we could learn from.

    Seconding this, thank you, Tom.

  27. Eclair

    And I add my thanks to Michael Hudson!
    Back in the mid-70’s, after my first month in an MBA program in a university that was enraptured by the Chicago School economists, I, raised and indoctrinated in the Catholic Church, found myself thinking that the arguments of the economists were so akin to the petty arguments of the theologians. Non-conforming people and beliefs were labelled, reviled, cast out, burnt at the stake. Religion and economics, both are so critical for social control.

    1. dandyandy

      “Non-conforming people and beliefs were labelled, reviled, cast out, burnt at the stake. Religion and economics, both are so critical for social control.”

      Higher up the thread some commenters wondered how it is possible for European nations to so readily and wholly embrace the whole russo-racist outcasting. I cannot escape the feeling that the vicious media’s social control has reached such levels that a great deal of people are now simply finding it unadvisable (for their own safety) to express opinions different to those peddled by say CNN or BBC or DW or ElPais. I am a professional consultant living in UK and I would not dream, of speaking loudly against what BBC says. I wouldn’t wany my kid to be branded Putin’s puppet and ostracised in his school.

      That is how bad it is.

  28. juliania

    Thank you, Professor Hudson, thank you. Earlier references to the Great Schism (as we call it in Orthodoxy) had me feeling sceptical of its relevance to secular world affairs, but you have nailed it.

    I am exceedingly humbled and equally grateful. And thanks to Yves for hosting your essay and comments!

  29. dean 1000

    Thanks for another good one Dr Hudson. I couldn’t believe Washington was doing this, Rabbit punching itself. It is killing NATO. The Russians must be laughing. The contradictions of empire compounded the distempers and jealousies of oligarchy are driving US imperialists crazy.

  30. truly

    Great article Dr Hudson.
    I would like to add one piece. The history hear brings us up to the 14th-15th century when the Vatican loses its strong grip on Western Europe. But looking into “The Doctrine of Discovery” tells us the Vatican just went looking for a new grift.
    It is my understanding that in the late 1400’s, early 1500’s there were several papal decrees written to set policy for “discovering the new lands”. Basically, Columbus and those who followed in his path were told to plant the cross and the flag of their nation and they then had legit ownership of whatever they discovered. These 500 year old decrees are still sometimes used by our Supreme Court to substantiate ownership rights. I believe it was in the 90’s that RBG wrote a SCOTUS decision that was rooted in The Doctrine of Discovery.
    I engage in some activism around indigenous rights, so my knowledge is limited to some documentaries and a few books I have read on the subject. If others have better info on this, please add it in. But I think it needs to be said the the Vatican didn’t loose it powerful grip on monetary issues for long. The US now has five(?) Catholics on SCOTUS, and appears to be neck deep in a pretty serious ongoing grift.

  31. fairleft

    Complete opposites disagreement between Michael Hudson above and Pepe Escobar at his Telegram channel (https://t.me/rocknrollgeopolitics (Nov. 3, 20:07)) on what Scholz will tell China in Beijing this week.

    Michael writes that Scholz will demand that China “dismantle its public sector and stops subsidizing its economy, or else Germany and Europe will impose sanctions on trade with China.'”

    Pepe writes that Michael is unwittingly relaying the neoliberal German Council on Foreign Relations’ wishful thinking. Further, says Pepe:

    Well, the info I’m getting is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT, and from solid German business sources.

    They tell me Scholz is going to China TO WORK OUT A PEACE DEAL WITH RUSSIA VIA BEIJING. …

    And more: the Scholz delegation may be trying to start a process of replacing the US with China as an ally. Never forget that the top BRI trade/connectivity terminal in the EU is Germany (the Ruhr valley).

    To be honest, that sounds like more wishful thinking. Scholz is such a shuffling go-a-longer, I bet his message to Xi will be a nothing burger.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      There is no way a peace deal is happening. Russia does not trust the West and the West will not accept Russia’s demand, which is that NATO pull back to its 1997 lines. That will never take place. The US and UK will not go along and the Balts and Poland would completely flip out.

      I don’t know where Pepe gets these lunatic ideas. And German business has had zero influence, witness the sanctions escalation.

      If there are to be peace talks, evah, they will be brokered through Türkiye.

      As for Hudson, Germany has been acting consistent with the views of the German Council on Foreign Relations, so it’s a reasonable surmise, independent of additional intel that Hudson may have, that they’ll continue to do the same. And the West making delusional demands has become standard operating procedure. So my bet is on Hudson being way closer to the mark.

      1. fairleft

        I agree. Pepe’s ‘optimistic takes’ have a bad track record.

        Japan-China is similar to Germany-Russia. #1 market for Japan, essential, so occasionally a big manufacturing industry CEO will say nice things, softly push for a rational relationship, and then some outside analysts get the wishful thinking going. But it comes to nothing. Mainstream media and politicians lie and misinterpret everything to push ‘scary China’, which is still the ruling take.

Comments are closed.