"Western leaders are all fighting for their survival in power"
By Gilbert Doctorow, gilbertdoctorow.com (September 1, 2023)
Where does this lead? To war!
I follow the Evening with Vladimir Solovyov shows as a professional duty, not for fun. The host is very often boorish and the panelists are variable in quality, with too many duds among them. However, every several days I am pleasantly surprised by the analytical talents of one or another panelist who gives us a fresh and often persuasive understanding of the drivers of global events.
One such case was last night when a panelist from MGIMO, the higher educational institution that has educated Russia’s diplomatic corps for decades, gave us his take on the danger of a new world war, meaning a nuclear holocaust, that we presently face. It is all because the political leaders in the United States and in Europe enjoy very low domestic ratings, face elections in the coming year or so and are desperate to hold onto power. For some losing power can mean being sent before courts for various crimes they have committed in office. War is the solution they seize upon in the hope of diverting attention from their personal failings and economic woes, as well as to clamp down on free expression of opposition to the powers that be.
So it is for Joe Biden. Tucker Carlson and Donald Trump have said as much in public over the past several days. But it is just as true of the European presidents and prime ministers. They are all buffeted by economic head winds, by rampant inflation, deindustrialization and falling living standards that they unleashed with their ill-considered imposition of sanctions on Russia. They all are highly unpopular. We know, for example, that German Chancellor Scholz is now among the least regarded politicians in his country. Macron is now rivaling former president Hollande, who came in at single digit numbers in polls before he abandoned his hopes of reelection. And what is the result? Scholz has become a war hawk and repeatedly has agreed to supply ever more deadly materiel to Kiev. Macron has come out as a hawk not only on Ukraine but now is a caricature colonialist on the question of participating in military operations against Niger to reinstall the French-backed comprador government.
Over in Poland, where an election is looming, the government of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki is fighting for its life against a resurgent Civic Platform party. It has put in place a law aimed at sidelining the former prime minister and CP leader Donald Tusk over charges that he was soft on the Russians. Losing power might result in the chairman of the Law and Justice party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski being sent to trial, as is now demanded by Lech Walesa. The result? Poland has been building up its military forces on the border with Belarus and is preparing the public for an imminent outbreak of war.
And then there is the most recent example supporting the given line of analysis: what is going on in Estonia. Let us recall that in the past week there has been a political storm in Estonia when it became known that the husband of the viciously anti-Russian prime minister, Kaja Kallas, has been making millions of euros of profit from his logistics business assisting an Estonian company that has production in Russia. When confronted with this outrageous violation of the cut-off of relations with Russia that she has demanded of her fellow citizens since the war in Ukraine began, Kallas just shrugged it off as something she knew nothing about. However, we note that the drone attack that destroyed Russian military aircraft at the Pskov airport in Russia’s northwest region a day ago is said to have been launched from Estonian territory.
So far, Moscow has not reacted to what could and should be a casus belli with a NATO Member State. But how much longer will Putin show forbearance?
These are very dangerous times and the weakness of Western leadership points to more, not less war.
©Gilbert Doctorow, 2023
September 1, 2023 at 3:14 pm
“For some losing power can mean being sent before courts for various crimes they have committed in office. ”
I simply do not believe that the so called “leaders” are not controlled by financial and industrial interest. Nobody can convince me that Biden, van der Leyen, Scholtz, Macron, etc, are acting as independent agents.
They are clearly not acting in the interests of the majority of the population they were elected to represent, and they clearly have no power on their own, and neither do the parties they belong to, as any records regarding financial backers reveals.
One just has acknowledge that especially in the USA, the revolving door from private industry or finance (I am looking at Goldman Sachs) to government to Industry is ever so obvious.
All politicians of the West, and even to some extent in Russia, are solely protecting and furthering the interest of those financial backers. And pray tell: who are the most influential backers, that have managed to diminish the role of industrial capitalism to favour a mainly financial capitalism, where money creats money with out the cumbersome process of investing in real production.
Should that however for some ridiculous reason still be necessary: for that there are the workshops in Asia, Africa, South America. Which becomes obvious in the deindustrialization even of the MIC, that cannot even produce weapons, especially ammunition, enough for a war with Russia.
September 1, 2023 at 3:35 pm
If the geopoliticalworld were flat, you would be right. But the world is not flat, it is hierarchical. By their own choice the individual Member States of the European Union have surrendered their sovereignty to Brussels and Brussels has surrendered it to Washington. Therefore the political leaders in countries like Germany are answerable upwards not downwards to their electorate or, as you believe, to local financial and industrial interests. Scholz is wrecking the German economy and all that German industry can do is leave the country, which is what they are doing. Scholz, Macron and all the others enjoy big expense accounts, glamor etc but they are just compradors without control of their own foreign policy.
September 1, 2023 at 3:51 pm
“as you believe, to local financial and industrial interests.”
I think I did not refer to LOCAL financial or industrial interests.
That might applicable to Russian oligarchs, but as the west is to a large extend integrated, those financial and industrial interest are supra-national, and might even extend right into China as the worlds industrial production floor, and the country with the 4 largest banks by assets.
And of course, local interest of, in comparison piddly, companies in France, Spain, Germany etc. are completely negligible in the scheme, and either adapt to the international overarching financial interest, move or expire.
September 1, 2023 at 3:57 pm
If the Ukraine war does escalate its nuclear phase will be in Europe, with the USA at least initially and maybe finally free and clear. It is hard to see what advantage global capital would have in the utter destruction of Europe. Even US capital would be, shall we say, inconvenienced. Somehow these possibilities or even probabilities do not seem to be noticed by Scholz, by Macron, by Sunak and their advisors. They are, as I say, compradors and are not looking out for those who elected them.
September 1, 2023 at 4:50 pm
“It is hard to see what advantage global capital would have in the utter destruction of Europe. even US capital would be, shall we say, inconvenienced”
And it is exactly this argument why I do not think that the mouthpieces for international interests, like van der Leyen, Bearbock, Harbeck etc (all alumnies of the Atlanticist school) Scholz, Macron (representative of France financial elites) will have any say in any of those decisions, and why I think it will never come even close to a nuclear conflagration.
Of course I might be wrong, but the financial elites whose interest those mouthpieces represent are after all rational actors, whose interest might support multiple controllable wars, even a world-war, but never a nuclear exchange that would rob them completely of the fruits of sometimes multigenerational accumulation of power and wealth.
September 1, 2023 at 4:57 pm
You are an optimist. There are irrational actors in this game, in Kiev, in Warsaw, and now it appears, in Tallinn. Those rational actors you mention are also willfully ignorant about the conditions on the ground. And the U.S. leadership pulling the strings has its own crackpots, as for example the number two officer in the State Department Victoria Nuland. As for the Oval Office, it is inhabited by a certifiable idiot. This is the man whose finger is on the button, not your Ivy League financiers.
September 1, 2023 at 6:03 pm
With regards to the role of politicians and their influence, I am a optimist. But that does not mean that the rational actors who control the action of the political class, are an all powerful cabal that acts in a unified manner world wide.
There are always black swan incidences, beyond the control of anybody.
I also acknowledge that the interests of the US financial and industrial oligarchs are to a large extent not always or necessarily aligned with the oligarchs of other nations, as an example the likely and seemingly already advancing de-industrialization of Germany and other EU nations.
I just do not believe that real power is in the hands of an imbecile like Biden, or the neocons who are part of his entourage, this to me simply does not make sense in light of the real desire by the capitalist class to maintain control as much as possible over the direction of the economy and the desire of accumulation of wealth=power.
Which is proven by the simple fact that they, through financial means, from before elections even happen, make sure those win who will act according to their interests, and if the undesirable happens: there are always methods, see the example Trump, to infiltrate his government with those that steer him to the correct course…or else.
September 1, 2023 at 8:38 pm
My impression is that it is not “power” (as is being discussed) that is in the hands of the Neocons as much as it is that they have built the processes of Society–the world is currently forced to play ball on the field of their creation. These processes have been built over multiple decades and only allow further and further escalation of any matter because they are built in the image of the Neocons, for whom escalation is simply a way of life.
The Social Justice crowd love to speak of “systemic [insert pejorative here]”. I think what we are actually dealing with is a form of “systemic process-abuse” that continues no matter who is actually in power. When this form of abuse represents the *only* levers a leader anywhere can pull, the result is essentially baked into the system. After all, they just *have* to *do something*. It’s something of a self-fulfilling prophecy.
September 1, 2023 at 3:14 pm
In the United States, we need a truth and reconcilliation type approach. I’d prefer, perhaps, to see all the perpetrators in jail, but there are too many. We need to get the truth out above all.
kanassatego September 1, 2023 at 9:27 pm
“We note that the drone attack that destroyed Russian military aircraft at the Pskov airport in Russia’s northwest region a day ago is said to have been launched from Estonian territory.”
Who is “we”?
If the Russians have convincing proof that the drones were launched from a base in Estonia, then the only logical thing for the Russians to do is to issue an official warning that next time it happens (whether in Estonia or any other NATO country), then the base will be annihilated with cruise and/or hypersonic missiles (unstoppable, as we know.) This is war, not military exercises and no special military operation any more. How many more times can Russia afford to have its civilians killed or injured and its infrastructure destroyed by Ukrainian terrorists operating out of NATO countries?
If the Estonian government is suicidally stupid, then its suicidal wish should be granted. The Russians cannot afford to continue to allow Ukrainian/NATO terrorists to threaten Russian civilians with drones and missiles launched from NATO countries.
Anyhow, what exactly is it that NATO could do? It is no longer a match for the Russian army, stronger and more modern than ever.
Frederick Herschel September 1, 2023 at 11:46 pm
Blinken and Nuland. They are the individuals controlling the war in Ukraine. They are compradors. Where do their loyalties lie? If you quibble they are not in control, name the actors who are. Burns? He is a tool, not a carpenter. Yes, the CIA is adept only at terrorism and certainly would like to prove that terrorism works. But does the CIA control Blinken and Nuland? Does the CIA think that its existence would be threatened by a defeat in Ukraine? I think not. You say, what about the military or Jake Sullivan? You wouldn’t be serious if you did. Where do Blinken and Nuland’s loyalties lie? And conversely, in their insane, all-consuming hatred of Russia (of all places!) what is it that they fear? You must have an answer to these questions, because you know this subject backwards and forwards.