The cleverly titled Wall Street Journal column, “Gazprom Drills Deeper Into Europe,” explains how the Russian energy giant (Gazprom) is invading Western retail energy markets. While Russian bombers and warships conduct war exercises in the Atlantic, the real 2008 Russian Winter Offensive is along economic lines. Not only has Russia protected itself financially, with bolstered currency reserves, we also find that Russian grain production is up. Here the Kremlin’s watchword is self-sufficiency. If global financial collapse occurs, the Russian people will survive. In fact, Russia sees opportunity as currencies devalue and markets fall. If we look at rising food costs in Russia, there is reason to suspect the Russian government is stockpiling grain.
By some counts, Russia has the best intelligence service in the world. A cheap trick of latter-day prognostication is to watch Russian moves with an eye to what they know. Prior to 9/11 the Russian parliament staged hearings in which testimony was presented about an imminent attack on America by “shadow forces.” The dollar was expected to crash. The Russian people were encouraged to trade their dollars for gold. To this end, gold was made legal tender in Russia. Anyone watching these hearings, knowing the prescience of Russian intelligence, would conclude that something “very nasty” was coming against America. And sure enough, 9/11 proved the point. Russian spies go everywhere. They look into everything.
It is worth noting that Russian economic moves have been telltale since 1998. At the time, under the leadership of Boris Yeltsin, Russia was cooperating with the West. But there were disturbing cracks in the friendly façade. A defector warned that Russia had a secret intelligence “alliance” with China. Even more disturbing, Russia was still working on a super-plague biological weapon, planning to build new missiles, cheating on other arms agreements. Russia was refurbishing underground nuclear bunkers and nuclear-proof cities. Why were these preparations taking place in the midst of peace, under the leadership of Boris Yeltsin?
Long ago Russian strategists predicted the West would suffer a severe economic crisis. As far back as the 1950s Russian strategists talked of a “forty-year” strategy and more, with strategic preparations in the clandestine, criminal, economic and political spheres. Though Communist ideology is supposed to be dead, Western analysts shouldn’t underestimate the ongoing influence of Marxist ideas. Having seen the world through the lens of Marxism-Leninism, Russian and Chinese leaders didn’t become overnight disciples of John Locke or Adam Smith. The old battle line remains between rich nations and poor nations, between capitalism and socialism. As a self-conceived champion of the poor nations, the Marxist always anticipates a global capitalist meltdown that will bring about a new balance of power (in favor of a Marxist bloc of countries). This is part wishful thinking, part realistic thinking. History teaches that financial crashes periodically occur. If you are plotting to overthrow a global social system, it is logical to strike when that system has suffered an upset. In terms of playing to this expectation, the Chinese have concentrated on trade while the Russians have concentrated on monopolizing raw materials (oil, natural gas and minerals).
The Russian strategists expect the U.S. financial position to deteriorate in the near future, and they are prepared to give America a hard push if necessary. Of course, the best incentive to economic irresponsibility was already given to Western business leaders with the “collapse” of the Soviet Union. This was the move that led us to the present crisis. The market’s victory over “socialism” was a passageway to an abyss. Francis Fukuyama called it “the end of history.” In reality, the march of folly continued.
Behind the finely crafted finale of communism, the KGB kept watch. Its agents in the criminal underworld, the drug trade and in legitimate business, formed a strong combination for penetrating Western economies and, also, Western governments. An astute appreciation of reality is here denigrated as a “relic” of the “Cold War.” Everyone knows the Cold War is over because our enemy said it was over. That infamous crew of liars and murderers, grown from Stalin’s potting soil, flowered into democrats and capitalists. How convenient for the shopping mall regime! If men once believed in magic or astrology, they are now duped by sociology and belief in “progress.” Since Western opinion-makers never understood Soviet Russia, it was easy and pleasant to imagine an instant change stemming from Mikhail Gorbachev. Such was the greatest sucker’s plaything ever devised by Moscow’s specialists.
After two decades the West has been thoroughly duped; its leaders manipulated, blackmailed, swindled to a point that overt hostile moves by the Russian military, or scathing threats from the Russian president, produces no meaningful reaction. We all know that Russian agents unleashed radioactive poison on the streets of London. British officials believe that Andrei Lugovoy was Putin’s henchman in the matter. And now, with hardly a squeak from so many political pips, Lugovoy is a member of the Russian parliament with full legal immunity. In a recent interview with Megan Stack, published in the 27 January Los Angeles Times, Lugovoy said: “I don’t believe the Cold War is back. It has never ended.”
The Cold War cannot end in a whimper. It must end in a bang. Here is the terra firma of Putin’s policy. Does anyone imagine the assassin thinks any differently than his boss? Lugovoy’s words and their meaning are as straightforward, as simple and easy-to-grasp as anything that has ever gained utterance. Russia under Putin is the enemy of the West. The Russian people are now persuaded that good is evil and evil is good. Who has persuaded them and why?
According to a Russian newspaper editor, quoted in the Los Angeles Times, if Lugovoy openly admitted to assassinating Alexander Litvinenko with polonium-210 in London, “He would … become a national hero of Russia….” Here is another significant point. The old Stalinist system of propaganda has been replaced by a psychologically superior system. Strangely, the Americans and British don’t seem worried. They cling to their Cold War victory. “Once upon a time,” we are told, capitalism was good and America won the Cold War. “Once upon a time,” however, is the opening line in a fairytale. Today capitalism is everywhere vilified. Under the regime of “new lies for old,” the old Communist propaganda is reborn without the detriment of a Communist label.