Once Aryan Skynet Goes Live It Doesn't Matter Who Pulled The Switch
I am nearly finished reading Dan Kovalik’s recent book The Plot to Scapegoat Russia: How the CIA and the Deep State Have Conspired to Vilify Putin, which I had seen reviewed at CounterPunch a while back. Disappointingly, the title is something of a misnomer, as Kovalik has very little to say about the specifics of “Russiagate”. Instead, the author’s primary approach is to rebut the narrative by pointing out the Washington foreign policy establishment’s long heritage of rogue state violence, international subversion, and ideological hypocrisy.
As such, the book has some value as a primer on the bankruptcy of liberal “humanitarian intervention”, serving as a crash course in U.S.-directed meddling and regime change in countries like Iran, Guatemala, Chile, Vietnam, Cambodia, Nicaragua, Serbia, Colombia, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and the Ukraine. Kovalik, far from a Trump apologist, is a human rights attorney and an open communist sympathizer – and his biting attacks on U.S. imperialism, Republican and Democratic alike, will be more effective with a progressive audience for that reason. Those who might turn a deaf ear to Rush Limbaugh’s blustering about Bill or Hillary Clinton’s “liberalism” might be more receptive to Kovalik’s characterization of President Clinton as “a modern day King Leopold II” for his precipitation of a prolonged series of wars in Africa on behalf of U.S. mining interests like the Arkansas-based American Mineral Fields1. Kovalik, as one would expect, plays it more cautiously in some regards, preferring to harp on the NATO-supported “Nazi” militia in the Ukraine and the “bizarre hold that the retrograde, repressive monarchy of Saudi Arabia has over US foreign policy”2 rather than focus on the political clout of AIPAC; although, to his credit, he does eventually get around to acknowledging “the biggest elephant in the room, which is never to be spoken of, and that is Israel and its outsized influence over US foreign policy.”3
Kovalik’s communist fanboy stance, as when he asserts that Stalin’s rape-and-genocide-happy Red Army “was the real hero of WWII”4 or pauses to observe that a Cuban soldier he saw assisting the Sandinistas in Nicaragua was “towering” and “handsome”5, sometimes threatens to plunge the proceedings into inadvertent self-parody; but Kovalik’s affection for the old Soviet Union is itself an interesting theme of his book. “I still get goose bumps when I see the famous photo of the Russian soldier raising the Soviet flag over the Reichstag in Berlin,” Kovalik confesses6.
Beyond such childish hero worship, are there any potentially valid reasons to regret the collapse of the Soviet Union and the socialist governments of the various satellite countries? Kovalik makes the argument that the existence of socialist models and safety nets for workers in the East served as a check on the rapaciousness of capitalists in the West, the proliferation of “free trade” agreements like NAFTA and U.S.-China PNTR coming after the disintegration of the Soviet system. He also quotes the following passage from an article by Reagan-era Treasury Department official and Aryan Skynet favorite Paul Craig Roberts:
The collapse of the Soviet Union was the worst thing that ever happened to the United States. The two main consequences of the Soviet collapse have been devastating. One consequence was the rise of the neoconservative hubris of US world hegemony, which has resulted in 14 years of wars that have cost $6 trillion. The other consequence was a change of mind in socialist India and communist China, large countries that responded to “the end of history” by opening their vast under-utilized labor forces to Western capital, which resulted in the American economic decline […] leaving a struggling economy to bear the enormous war debt.7
Kovalik notes, moreover, that, “while we are currently being urged to fear a return of the Iron Curtain, many of those who lived in the USSR, and even in many of the Soviet-dominated East Bloc nations stretching from East Germany to the Russian frontier, really don’t share our fear”:
Indeed, a recent poll showed that a majority of Russians (56%) view the fall of the USSR negatively, and that an even stronger majority (58%) dream of its restoration. Truth be told, the vast majority of Soviet citizens (76.4%) just several months before the collapse of the USSR expressed their desire in a non-binding referendum for the preservation of the Soviet Union. This sentiment was particularly strong in Russia (with 71.4% approval), Ukraine (70.3%), Belarus (82.7%), and in Azerbaijan and each of the Central Asian Republics (with over 90%).
Similarly, in Hungary, Bulgaria, the former Yugoslavia and even in the former East Germany, the majority of the people pine for the good old days of communism.
As Reuters has reported, “Capitalism’s failure to lift living standards, impose the rule of law and tame flourishing corruption and nepotism have given way to fond memories of the times when the jobless rate was zero, food was cheap and social safety was high.8
[Read more about free trade agreements at Aryan Skynet: “How a Secretive ‘Free Trade’ Deal Endangers Romania’s Forests“; “Don’t Hold Your Breath Waiting for President Trump to Trash This Particular ‘Free Trade’ Agreement“]