Prominent American conservative thinker and author William Lind explains why the West is ganging up on Russia
Victor Olevich: Almost a quarter century has passed since the end of the Cold War. Yet, both Russia and the West once again find themselves at the precipice of a new Cold War. Why did Washington choose to pursue an aggressive foreign policy towards Moscow after the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991? Could these developments have been prevented?
William Lind: The Washington establishment, which is bipartisan, thought that now we could rule the world. It could dictate to everyone and it could force its ideology, which is sometimes called globalism or liberal democracy, but is in fact the soft totalitarianism of Brave New World, on everyone in the world. If necessary, with military force. This is the classic hubris that has destroyed one great power after another. There is nothing new about it.
Victor Olevich: Why has Washington chosen Ukraine as a battleground in its new Cold War against Russia?
William Lind: Russia under President Putin represents the state system and the way states normally act within the state system, based on their interests. The ideology of the Washington establishment says that is not how the world is going to work anymore. It is instead going to be essentially a one world government based in Washington. This ideology includes such concepts as the feminist definition of women’s rights, devaluation of all religions, so called gay rights, and the belief that this must be universal. Russia is saying no to this. It is saying that it still believes in the state system and is going to pursue its own interests on the world stage. So when Russia asserted its interests in the face of Ukraine threatening to join NATO, then Washington reacted very strongly.
Victor Olevich: The White House and the State Department frequently criticize Russia and other nations around the world for undermining democratic norms. Yet, Washington did not think twice about fomenting the overthrow of a democratically elected president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovich and supporting a government that came to power in Kiev as a result of a coup. How do you explain these double standards? What do they say about values inherent in US foreign policy today?
William Lind: The Washington establishment defines democracy as a system of elections that elects the people it wants to be elected. If an election in another part of the world does not put in power the government that Washington wants, then Washington refuses to recognize the election. We saw this most dramatically in the Gaza Strip, where the freest and fairest election ever held in the Arab world resulted in a Hamas government coming to power. And Washington immediately announced that it would not recognize it or deal with it.
Victor Olevich: What is the role of neoconservatives in sparking the current confrontation with Russia?
William Lind: The neoconservatives have never gotten over the Cold War and in truth they represent the thinking that was anti-Russian long before the Soviet Union, that was anti-Russian in the 19th century. Unfortunately for America and the rest of the world, they have had an enormous impact on American foreign policy. There is no reason they should have that influence, since all of their adventures have proven disastrous. Of course, they gave us a completely unnecessary and failed war in Iraq. Nonetheless, people continue to listen to them. This may have something to do with the fact that they have a great deal of money behind them.
The neocons and the neoliberals are very similar and work together. The Washington establishment is bipartisan. You have elements on both the left and the right who dissent from it, particularly senator Rand Paul, but the two represent pretty much a consensus within the establishment, though they pretend to be opposed to one another, but they really are not. Hillary Clinton, for example, is a neoliberal. As president her policies would hardly be different from that of the neocons.
Victor Olevich: Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov recently stated that the goal of the sanctions imposed by the US and the EU against Russia is regime change in Moscow. Can Washington's campaign against Putin backfire?
William Lind: Yes, of course. The United States and the EU are being hurt by the sanctions also. Russia has very strong foreign currency reserves, and it owes about 800 billion dollars to Western banks, with much of that starting to come due. Now, because of the sanctions, Russia is not going to be able to roll that over by borrowing more in the West. Obviously, what Russia can do in that case is say that it is suspending payment on all loans due to institutions in countries that are participating in the sanctions until the sanctions are lifted. Suddenly, the sanctions will hurt Europe much more than they hurt Russia, because Europe will have another massive banking crisis on its hands. There was a news flash last week about Russia and China buying a great deal of gold. This points to another way the sanctions can backfire. The rest of the world, and not just Russia, is getting tired of the United States trying to dictate to institutions, particularly banks, in their own countries, on what they will do, as if they were American institutions in complete disregard for their national sovereignty. One way to destroy this entire sanctions tool, not just in the case of Russia but also in regards to other countries, is to move trade to a gold basis instead of a dollar basis. The the role of American banks will become irrelevant, because trade will be completed in gold.
Victor Olevich: Is Europe able to act on its own, independently of U.S. foreign policy goals?
William Lind: No, Europe at this point is still very much in Washington’s orbit. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the EU is an American satellite. Europe is too afraid of American wrath to take any Russian offers. It is rather a matter of taking logical steps dictated by the situation. The debt problem I talked about before will certainly get Europe’s attention and bring home to them that an anti-Russian policy could have much greater consequences for them than its likely to have for Washington. In this sense, Europe’s interests and America’s interests are divergent.
Victor Olevich: Russia has warned about the dangers of toppling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since the beginning of Washington’s campaign against his government. Has Putin been proven right by the latest events surrounding ISIS?
William Lind: Yes, absolutely, he has been proven right. The United States policy in the Middle East is so stupid that there is a very real danger that we may find ourselves simultaneously fighting all three parties – the Islamist rebels in Syria, the Assad government and Iran. It takes real talent in foreign policy to fight everybody at the same time, despite the fact that they are all fighting each other. The only chance for stability in Syria and for the preservation of the state in Syria is the Assad government. The Washington policy makers want Assad overthrown because he is not part of their globalist scheme. We witnessed a similar situation in Libya, where the overthrow of Muammar Qaddaffi led to the disintegration of the state and a permanent state of chaos.
Victor Olevich: What is behind the massive LGBT rights propaganda campaign in the West? Why is this topic given so much attention, while more pressing subjects are ignored?
William Lind: This is part of the ideology of the ruling class here, which in fact is a variant of Marxism. It is the Marxism of the Institute of Social Research, of the Frankfurt School, which translated Marxism from economic into cultural terms. This, of course, is completely different from the Marxism of the old Soviet Union, which was economic rather than cultural. The goal of cultural Marxism since 1919, when it was conceived independently by Lukacs in Hungary and Gramsci in Italy is the destruction of Western culture and the Christian religion. Lukacs, when he became deputy Comissar of Culture in the Bela Kun government introduced sex education into Hungarian schools, because he knew that if you destroy the sexual mores of a society, then you have taken a giant step towards destroying its culture as a whole. The Hungarian working class was so outraged by what Lukacs did that when Romania invaded, it refused to fight and the Bela Kun government was overthrown. Cultural Marxism has developed further in the 1930-1950s and is very much the state ideology now in the West. The fact that President Putin is causing Russia to reemerge as the most conservative of the great powers, as Russia was in the 19th century, enrages cultural Marxists and makes Russia their number one enemy.
Victor Olevich: What can Russia do to support healthy conservative forces in the West that oppose cultural Marxists?
William Lind: I think Russia should do what it is doing right now – showing people in the West that you can resist cultural Marxism, that you do not have to think that it is the inevitable way of the future, and that a country can decide to retain its traditional way of living and believing.
Victor Olevich is a Russian-American political analyst based in Moscow. His articles have appeared in Izvestia, Planeta, Komsomolskaya Pravda and other major Russian- and English-language newspapers and magazines. He is a frequent guest on Russian political talk shows.
William Lind is a paleoconservative writer and former director of the Center for Cultural Conservatism at the Free Congress Foundation. He writes regularly for the American Conservative magazine and has co-authored "America Can Win: The Case for Military Reform" (1986) with senator and former Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart.