"In the end, all that matters is that the condemned building collapses. ... Once it does, it becomes possible to clear the rubble and build something better in its place."
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.
He is best known for his 2011 book comparing Soviet and American collapse (he thinks America's will be worse). He is a prolific author on a wide array of subjects, and you can see his work by searching him on Amazon.
He has a large following on the web, and on Patreon, and we urge you to support him there, as Russia Insider does.
His current project is organizing the production of affordable house boats for living on. He lives on a boat himself.
If you haven't discovered his work yet, please take a look at his archive of articles on RI. They are a real treasure, full of invaluable insight into both the US and Russia and how they are related.
There is at present a great deal of dissatisfaction with the performance of the embattled US President.
To start with, he had the wrong supporters: too few radical feminists; too many white heterosexual males whose toxic masculinity is a major problem according to the radical feminists.
Then, of course, he only got elected thanks to the nefarious meddling by the world’s largest organized crime syndicate called Russia, led by none other than the dread pirate Putin. (The Russians are so utterly clever that not a single shred of conclusive evidence of their meddling could be unearthed in spite of a year of steadfast effort by a fantastically competent special investigator).
Then (and this only gets worse) it turns out that another sort of nefarious meddling was afoot: the Department of Justice and the FBI, under the direction of Barak Obama, did everything they could to exonerate Hillary Clinton from her numerous crimes while doing their best to dig up dirt on Trump. But this is also all Trump’s fault: how could he fail commit some impeachable offense—for them to find?
Not only is Trump a Manchurian candidate put in place by Putin and/or elected by a bunch of retrogrades and undesirables. Not only did he make horribly populist campaign promises—like bringing back offshored American jobs; like keeping out illegal immigrants who also steal American jobs; like bringing US troops back home from the many hellholes that the US military has been busily creating around the world; like renegotiating trade deals to favor Americans rather than foreigners; like restoring good relations with Russia; like “making America great again” (however unlikely that may sound).
Worst of all, he has failed to deliver on any of these promises! Instead, the little that’s happened under his watch so far that can be said to be positive is a further progression of financial bubbles, with stocks and bonds both looking like hundred-foot palm trees growing in buckets (what will happen to them when a gust of wind comes along?). This makes Trump no different from any of his predecessors (which one of them actually fulfilled his campaign promises?). But somehow a US president lying like he’s running for office, then ignoring his promises once elected, just like any other US president, is no longer good enough for some people.
But it gets even worse than that…
We know by now that “Trump the Politician,” “Trump the Economist” and “Trump the Diplomat” are all books so short that a child could color one in at a single sitting. To judge from the words that come out of his mouth, he is, intellectually, as much an empty vessel as Ronald Reagan was, with the difference that while Reagan was an actor who memorized and recited his lines faithfully, Trump is a showman who improvises on the spot in order to generate maximum outrage. And while Reagan, whose flagging popularity surged after he got shot, thereafter liked to say, “Why don’t I go out and get shot again?” whenever his popularity started sinking again, Trump is someone who shoots first. His chosen weapon is Twitter: easy on attention span, long on reach, and perfect for maximizing damage.
It is clear that, in spite of his intellectual limitations, Trump was quick to realize that he would be thwarted at every turn. His immigration initiatives could be shut down by a single politicized judge. The military-industrial complex would sabotage his every effort to end money-wasting weapons programs like the F-35 or pointless foreign occupations like Syria and Afghanistan. Members of his own party negated his efforts to end Obamacare before it implodes. Improved relations with Russia were made impossible by endless evidence-free accusations of Russian meddling.
The token victory he has scored is in pushing through some sort of tax reform, but this was only possible because all kleptocrats everywhere can always reliably agree that more money for them is a good thing and that the inevitability of national bankruptcy is not a topic worthy of discussion. And so Trump decided to embrace a strategy of maximum offense, using Twitter and other public relations means at his disposal. He is, at this point, a swinging wrecking ball—an orange one, in case you like your wrecking balls painted. And at this he has been eminently successful.
Let’s work through some examples.
Latest first, let’s look at immigration. Thwarted in his efforts to stop immigration from countries that spawn Islamic terrorists or to build his wall on the Mexican border, he managed to poison the atmosphere in the room through a single quip: “Why do we take people from shithole countries.” Now, he could have said “low-IQ countries” instead, making an argument that would have intellectual rather emotional appeal, but it would have been wasted on low-IQ people.
I don’t know of any serious academic studies on this topic, but for all we know there may be significant correlation, and perhaps a causative link, between low IQ and the propensity to defecate out of doors like an animal. Still, making the argument about feces rather than IQ missed an opportunity to paint those in the pro-immigration camp a funny color for trying to let idiots crap in the nation’s gene pool.
Next, let’s look at the uproar that ensued after Trump’s administration recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital while failing to mention that it is also the capital of Palestine and has been under Israeli occupation that is illegal and unrecognized under international law. This action caused an international split: at the UN General Assembly, the only countries that sided with the US decision were Israel, a couple of US-run Central American shitholes and a handful of Pacific Ocean islands whose UN votes can be purchased for a few cans of spam. Then Trump’s administration responded by cutting funding to the UN. Doing so has achieved two important things.
First, it allowed the US to effectively take itself out of the running as any sort of international leader, because international leadership relies on respect for international law and on the ability to build international consensus on key issues, of which this behavior is the polar opposite. Specifically, it virtually eliminated the ability of US diplomacy to participate in political negotiations over the future of the Middle East, leaving the field wide open for Russia, Iran and Turkey.
Second, it helped demolish the fiction that the joined-at-the-hip relationship between the US and Israel is somehow a win-win: the US supports Israel as a Jewish homeland (cue black-and-white images of the Holocaust) and the region’s only true democracy, while Israel serves as America’s stalwart ally in a volatile, strategically important region. The truth is that the relationship is closer to one of parasitism: Israel infects the US like a fungus infects an ant, taking over its nervous system. Take on board the following facts:
• All six of the major media companies in the US are owned by Jews.
• Half of the members of US Congress have pledged allegiance to AIPAC—American-Israeli Political Action Committee.
• Jews are quite active in Hollywood studios, where they set the agenda and control the message.
• Both the New York Times and the Washington Post—which exercise a great deal of control over international news coverage, amplifying certain stories while muting others—are to a large extent Jewish.
• If you seek evidence of foreign meddling in US elections, look no further than the millions given to Trump by certain Jewish oligarchs, who are specifically on record advocating for Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.
The vast influence of all of the above Jewish-controlled organizations makes any discussion of this rather important topic subject to censorship and shrill cries of “Anti-Semitism!”. (The term “Semitism” was initially coined as a term of abuse against “Semites”—the supposed descendants of a mythical Shem of the Bible, and thus anti-Semitists would be, technically, those opposed to the abuse of Jews and Arabs.) In all, Trump’s ham-handed recognition of Jerusalem helped make it clear that the US political establishment is a zombie ant infested by a Jewish-Israeli parasitic fungus.
My third example (there are quite a few more, but there is only room for three) is Trump’s quick and easy demolition job on America’s strategic alliances.
A trip to Saudi Arabia, which featured awkward dances with swords and eerie gazing into a crystal ball with the Saudi King, resulted in the instant loss of Qatar from the Gulf Cooperation Council, rendering it rather uncooperative toward its former allies and rather more cooperative toward Iran and Russia.
A trip to NATO headquarters in Brussels made this altogether useless organization feel… well, useless. Trump told the Europeans that they have to earn their keep by buying Americans weapons and that the US will not necessarily protect them. The sudden burst of understanding that US security guarantees were a bit of wishful thinking, and that they have to make their own peace with Russia, has helped start a discussion within the EU about going their separate way and finding ways to provide for their own security needs.
And then there was the pissing contest between Trump and DPRK’s surprisingly capable Kim Jong Un, which Trump lost. In the process, he helped make it perfectly clear that while there is no acceptable military solution to the Korean situation, the US is quite happy to put its allies in danger just to give their president an ego boost. The discussion of whose “nuclear button” is bigger was particularly instructive. As the old saying goes, “One nuclear bomb can ruin your whole day.” Miraculously, this pissing contest has prompted a rapprochement between the North and the South, and their Olympic athletes are now preparing to appear together at the Winter Games in PyeongChang.
There are some people in the US who wish for a better president: one who would actually fix things. But what if no such person could exist, even in theory? What if what the country needs now is a nice big swinging wrecking ball, to knock down all of the buildings that have become unsafe and should be condemned?
You can paint your wrecking ball any color you like, so that it looks pretty while hanging still, but paint tends to rub off on first contact with the brick walls of reality. In the end, all that matters is that the condemned building collapses.
Once it does, it becomes possible to clear the rubble and build something better in its place.