"NATO continues to chug along—a runaway train to nowhere."
Orlov is one of our favorite essayists on Russia and all sorts of other things. He moved to the US as a child, and lives in the Boston area.
He is one of the better-known thinkers The New Yorker has dubbed 'The Dystopians' in an excellent 2009 profile, along with James Howard Kunstler, another regular contributor to RI (archive). These theorists believe that modern society is headed for a jarring and painful crack-up.
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His current project is organizing the production of affordable house boats for living on. He lives on a boat himself.
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Unbeknownst to most, World War III has been raging for very close to four decades now—ever since the collapse of the Berlin Wall. It was preceded by the Cold War, which ended when Mikhail Gorbachev capitulated to the West, causing the Warsaw Pact to dissolve in confusion.
In spite of his capitulation, the West never abandoned its plan to destroy the Warsaw Pact along with parts of the former USSR, then conquer and dismember Russia itself. In absence of any military threat from the east, NATO, along with its parasitic twin, the European Union, has relentlessly expanded eastward, gobbling up country after country. It has by now conquered the entire Warsaw Pact plus Moldova and the three tiny Baltic statelets, and is now going after other loose bits of the former USSR: the Ukraine, Georgia and Armenia.
The reason almost nobody in the West realizes that World War III has been happening all along is that the West has suffered a mental collapse as profound as the USSR’s physical collapse. Russia has recovered from its collapse; the West probably never will.
Although the West pretends to be battling Russia, that is pure fantasy. Russia’s defensive posture is such that no military strategy against it is even plannable. Russia’s military doctrine stipulates that no more wars will be fought on Russian soil: if invaded, it will immediately take the fight to the enemy using precision long-range weapons that have global reach. It also stipulates that it will respond to any existential threat using nuclear weapons if need be. And so the Pentagon, with NATO in tow, no longer even dreams of attacking Russia. That dream was alive at one point, when the US thought it possible to eliminate Russia’s nuclear deterrent capability using a nuclear first strike, but since then Russia has rearmed with weapons more advanced than anything the US has or will have any time soon, and that dream is now dead.
Instead, the effort is to “counter Russian aggression”—which doesn’t exist. Russia simply isn’t interested in invading anyone; it already has all the land and all the natural resources it could ever want. Having rearmed and having proven its mettle in Syria, Russia is now cutting its defense spending in favor of domestic programs that will be of benefit to its people. Compare that to the defense spending in the US and the rest of NATO: it is setting new records. Clearly, the West is not fighting Russia. It is battling against itself, and therefore it is, by definition, both losing and winning at the same time. With its military spending—by far the largest and the most senselessly wasteful in the world—the US has set itself on a course toward fiscal oblivion previously sailed by the USSR.
While pretending to battle Russia, the West has been attacking and destroying countries around the world—mostly quite successfully, but with a few exceptions. Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya now lay in ruins. This success becomes tempered somewhat wherever Russia becomes tangentially involved; in these cases the inevitable result is a fractured, semi-defunct state: the Ukraine minus the Donbas and Crimea, Georgia minus Abkhazia and South Ossetia and the booby prize of the Idlib Province (the designated gremlin reservation) minus the rest of Syria. Wherever Western thrashing about and shadow-boxing impinges on Russian interests, Russia easily enforces some red lines and the West dares not escalate.
The only kind of “hot” war between the West and Russia (which is really only lukewarm) is in the area of economic sanctions, and here Russia is most grateful. These sanctions have been most valuable in stimulating import replacement and in providing a much-needed impetus for dedollarization, and for developing alternatives to Western finance, while the countersanctions against EU’s agricultural exports have stimulated Russian agriculture. Since the sanctions were imposed at the insistence of the US but have largely harmed the EU, they furthered the cause of Western disunity. In all, Russia couldn’t ask for a better enemy: impressive only on paper and always eager to pound the ball into its own net.
But all good things must come to an end eventually, and even World War III can’t go on forever. This realization is slowly sinking in, resulting in treasonous behavior within the Western camp as various recently conquered states turn restive and start looking toward Moscow. Moldova’s president Dodon is on record stating that its EU membership will not jeopardize its good relations with Russia. The textbook colored revolution in Armenia resulted in the supposedly pro-Western new president in a rush to reassure everyone that Armenia will remain a loyal ally of Russia, EU cooperation agreements notwithstanding.
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic Ocean, the various fraudulent financial schemes that have allowed the US, with NATO in tow, to spend itself into oblivion, are showing signs of breaking down. Tariffs on countries with which the US runs trade deficits will force production to shift to domestic producers. But there is a reason why these products have been imported: the US is a relatively high-cost producer. De-offshoring production will therefore drive up inflation. And since a lot of US debt is indexed to inflation, interest payments will quickly swallow up the federal budget. The only solution is for the US to start adding to its mountain of debt at an even faster rate, but then dedollarization is proceeding apace around the world and demand for US debt is dropping.
Can this looming shortfall in defense spending be made up elsewhere? Well, no; France and Germany—the countries that make up the core of the Western Imperium—are balking at US demands for increased defense spending, realizing, in spite of their own rhetoric, that this is a waste of money pure and simple.
It is gradually sinking in that Russia’s new defensive and offensive weapons systems have made most Western armaments obsolete and will preclude Western forces from operating in areas where these new weapons are deployed. Consequently, they are in high demand around the world.
Turkey, NATO’s second-largest member, is looking to acquire several battalions of Russian S-300 air defense systems, in spite of vehement American protests. Saudi Arabia, a staunch American ally, is looking to do the same, having realized that the Raytheon-made Patriot missiles it had acquired are worse than useless. Stuffing more money into the pockets of Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, BASF or other US defense contractors will make a few rich people even richer, but it won’t make their products more affordable or more effective.
Meanwhile, NATO continues to chug along—a runaway train to nowhere. NATO is a bureaucratic juggernaut plus a handful of soldiers who haven’t carried out a successful mission in decades. The bureaucracy concentrates on empire-building, always looking for more spots on the map to color in, with the goal of… adding to the size of its bureaucracy, of course!
But there is nowhere for NATO to expand once the tiny crumbs of Montenegro and Macedonia have been swallowed. Neither the Ukraine nor Georgia are digestible since these two countries no longer even control their own territories. In desperation, NATO bureaucrats decided to expand into… Columbia, making this South American nation into a “NATO partner.” Perhaps a name change is in order—dropping the “N” for “North” Atlantic?
Or perhaps it is time to shut down the whole operation; but how? The answer is obvious: World War III must end with the West declaring a resounding victory… over itself. How exactly this is to be done is a question of propaganda, but since in the West most media organizations are in very few hands and largely under the control of the CIA, the script-writing effort should be easy to organize. Note that it doesn’t need to have anything to do with reality. It can be a transparent ruse, like “Russian aggression” (whereby Russia stands poised to invade Lithuania or Estonia—a suggestion that makes the Russians laugh out loud), or like the idea that Russia “invaded” Crimea or Eastern Ukraine. Western media outlets lie all day every day, be it about Syrian chemical attacks or about “highly likely” Russian Novichok poisonings in England. Populations in the West are already inured to being lied to, so this would be more of the same.
But since the West has been fighting World War III against itself, its victory will also be its defeat. Indeed, not only is it losing, but it is also being invaded—by mobs of migrants from the various countries it has destroyed, having used them as surrogate enemies in its notional battle against Russia. Give it a few more decades, and at this rate the West will be no more, its slow-breeding population replaced by the much more fecund newcomers. The countries that make it up will dissolve in a sea of migrants and will come to resemble the more crowded parts of the third world.
This will no doubt make the Russians a little bit sad; after all, they couldn’t have asked for a nicer enemy.
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
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